Tuesday, October 26, 2010
USS Toledo (CA-133)
Figure 1: USS Toledo (CA-133) off the east coast of Korea while operating with Task Force 77. Photograph was taken by an aircraft from USS Essex (CV-9). Original photograph is dated 6 September 1951. Official US Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 2: USS Toledo (CA-133) underway in Korean waters, with a battleship and a destroyer in the right distance. The original photo is dated 2 November 1952. Official US Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 3: USS Toledo (CA-133) crewmen bring eight-inch powder charges aboard from a barge alongside at Sasebo, Japan, circa July-October 1950, while Toledo was engaged in Korean War combat operations. This photo was received by the Naval Photographic Center on 12 October 1950. Note ship's after eight-inch triple gun turret trained on the starboard beam, and aircraft crane and hangar hatch cover at the stern. Official US Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 4: Eight-inch shells and powder charges on a barge alongside the starboard quarter of USS Toledo (CA-133), as Toledo replenished her ammunition supply in Sasebo Harbor, Japan, after combat operations off Korea, circa July-October 1950. Crewmen are carrying the powder cans into position to be hoisted aboard the cruiser. This photo was received by the Naval Photographic Center on 12 October 1950. Official US Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 5: Crew of one of the Toledo's 40-mm quad gun mounts stands ready during the Inchon Invasion, circa 15 September 1950. Official US Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 6: Three hospital corpsmen relax on board USS Toledo (CA-113) during a lull in the Inchon invasion action, circa 15 September 1950. These men are (from left to right): Bob Hays, Jack R. Allen and Stephen J. Lazorchak. Note the life vests, white helmet with a red cross, and red cross armbands. Official US Navy Photograph, from the "All Hands" collection at the Naval Historical Center. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 7: Inchon operation, September 1950. A Chaplain reads the Last Rites service as Lieutenant (Junior Grade) David H. Swenson is buried at sea from USS Toledo (CA-133) off Inchon, Korea. He had been killed by a near miss from North Korean artillery while his ship, USS Lyman K. Swenson (DD-729) was bombarding enemy positions on Wolmi Do Island, Inchon, on 13 September 1950. Lt. (JG) David H. Swenson was the nephew of Captain Lyman K. Swenson, who was killed in action while commanding USS Juneau (CL-52) off Guadalcanal during World War II and was the namesake of the ship he was sailing on. Lyman K. Swenson is in the background, with her crew at quarters on deck. Official US Navy Photograph, from the "All Hands" collection at the Naval Historical Center. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 8: USS Toledo (CA-133) and USS Juneau (CLAA-119) moored at Naval Operating Base, Yokosuka, Japan, following Korean War operations. Photographed during July-October 1950, possibly in late October, just before Toledo departed Yokosuka to return to the United States for an overhaul. Note the comparative sizes of these two cruisers. Official US Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 9: Shore fire control party from USS Toledo (CA-133) moves up past Korean tombs to man an observation post overlooking the Han River, circa late April or May 1951. Their mission is to spot and correct the cruiser's gunfire should the enemy appear. Official US Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 10: Shore fire control party from USS Toledo (CA-133) in an observation post overlooking the Han River, Korea, circa late April or May 1951. They are ready to spot and correct the cruiser's gunfire should the enemy appear. Official US Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 11: USS Toledo (CA-133) at rest in Wonsan Harbor, Korea, at dawn on 26 September 1951, following a long night of firing on enemy targets. Official US Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 12: USS Toledo’s shells hit enemy installations in the Wonsan Harbor area, Korea, during a bombardment in early 1953. Official US Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives. Click on photograph for larger image.
Named after a city in Ohio, USS Toledo was a 13,600-ton Baltimore class cruiser that was built by the New York Shipbuilding Corporation at Camden, New Jersey, and was commissioned at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on 27 October 1946. The ship was approximately 674 feet long and 70 feet wide, had a top speed of 33 knots, and had a crew of 1,142 officers and men. Toledo was armed with nine 8-inch guns, 12 5-inch guns, 40 40-mm guns, and 28 20-mm guns.
After a shakedown cruise in the West Indies, Toledo left for Europe on 14 April 1947. After steaming across the Atlantic, Toledo crossed the Mediterranean, the Suez Canal, and the Indian Ocean, and arrived at Yokosuka, Japan, on 15 June. Toledo’s primary mission was to support the American occupation forces in Japan and Korea and she visited ports in both of those countries until 21 October, when she returned to the United States. After making a stop at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, Toledo arrived at Long Beach, California, on 5 November.
Toledo made two more peacetime deployments to the western Pacific before the start of the Korean War. Toledo returned to Long Beach from the last of those deployments on 12 June 1950. On the morning of 25 June 1950, communist forces from North Korea poured over the 38th parallel and attacked South Korea. Ten days later, Toledo left Long Beach and headed west. After making a brief stop at Pearl Harbor, the ship continued her journey and arrived at Sasebo, Japan, on 18 July. Once there, Toledo became the flagship of Rear Admiral J. M. Higgins, Commander of Cruiser Division Five. On 26 July, Toledo was off the east coast of Korea, several miles north of Pohang, near Yongdok. Toledo joined Destroyer Division 91 and together they formed one of the two alternating east coast support elements of Task Group (TG) 95.5. From 27 to 30 July, Toledo and the destroyers Mansfield (DD-728) and Collett (DD-730) bombarded North Korean lines of communications which started at Yongdok and continued into the mountains and all the way to the 38th Parallel. On 4 August, the Task Group was assisted by Air Force fighters in a combined air-sea bombardment of an enemy-held village near Yongdok. The next day, Toledo’s 8-inch guns continued supporting front-line troops with a heavy bombardment. The ship then moved 70 miles north of Samchok and shelled a number of targets along a 25-mile section of coastline. During this action, Toledo’s guns demolished a bridge, destroyed major sections of highway, and disrupted communist supply lines. On 6 August, Toledo was relieved by USS Helena (CA-75) and returned to Sasebo for some minor repairs.
Toledo returned to Korea on 15 August and joined the cruiser USS Rochester (CA-124) and the destroyers Mansfield, Collett, and Lyman K. Swenson (DD-729) in bombarding a 40-mile section of coastline from Songjin to Iwon. After several bombardment missions, Toledo returned to Sasebo on 26 August and stayed there until 31 August.
But Toledo’s biggest mission was yet to come. In mid-September of 1950, the major amphibious landing at Inchon took place. There was a heavily armed island inside Inchon harbor called Wolmi Do and its guns threatened the success of the landings. Toledo, along with her previous escorts, and the destroyers USS Gurke (DD-783) and USS De Haven (DD-727), were joined by the Royal Navy cruisers HMS Jamaica and HMS Kenya. All these ships entered Inchon harbor on 13 September 1950, with the destroyers leading the way through heavily mined waters. Soon, an artillery duel began between the warships and the gun emplacements on the island. The cruisers let the destroyers draw fire from shore so that they could return fire after seeing the flashes from the enemy’s guns. The cruisers pounded the island mercilessly for the entire day. By nightfall, all of the ships retired, but they returned the next day to finish the job. Then, after two days of pounding both the island and the coastline, US Marines landed on Wolmi Do and then on the coast of Inchon. The Marines on shore called for additional fire-support missions from Toledo and the cruiser’s guns responded with deadly accuracy. She destroyed three gun emplacements, several machine gun nests, and two tunnels, and flattened enemy trenches and mortar positions. Soon, though, the Marines pushed further inland beyond the range of Toledo’s 8-inch guns. The cruiser then shifted her attention to supporting American troops that were battling bypassed pockets of enemy resistance along the coast. By 5 October, Toledo’s mission was completed and she returned to Sasebo.
On 18 October, Toledo also participated in the amphibious assault on Wonsan. For three days, her guns supported the Marines during their advance inland from Wonsan. But on 22 October, Toledo headed back to the United States and, after making stops at Sasebo, Yokosuka, and Pearl Harbor, the ship arrived at Long Beach on 8 November. Toledo ended her journey at San Francisco, California, where she entered the Hunter’s Point Naval Shipyard for a badly needed overhaul.
On 2 April 1951, Toledo returned to Korea. After making stops at Pearl Harbor and Sasebo, Toledo began her second tour of duty off the coast of Korea on 26 April. Toledo’s expert gunfire was badly needed by the United Nations troops on shore who were trying to beat back the communist’s spring offensive of 1951. Toledo bombarded enemy positions along the east coast of Korea until late November 1951. On one occasion, communist shore batteries opened fire on the cruiser and the enemy shells came extremely close to actually hitting her. On 24 November, Toledo returned to the United States and on 8 December she arrived at Long Beach for yet another overhaul.
On 16 August 1952, Toledo left Long Beach to begin her third combat tour of duty off the Korean coastline. Towards the end of September, Toledo was providing gunfire support for United Nations troops along Korea’s east coast, especially in the Wonsan area. Even though peace talks were dragging on with the Chinese and the North Koreans, the fighting continued. On 12 October, an enemy 75-mm shore battery actually straddled the cruiser with eight rounds before Toledo responded with 48 rounds from her 5-inch guns, silencing the enemy. On 14 October, another gun opened fire on Toledo from the same area and scored three very near misses on the cruiser. But the war was beginning to wind down for Toledo. After a few more weeks of shore bombardment missions, the cruiser returned to the United States on 28 February 1953. Toledo arrived at her home port at Long Beach on St. Patrick’s Day, 1953. The war in Korea finally ended on 27 July 1953 while Toledo was undergoing repairs at San Francisco.
After the Korean War ended, Toledo deployed to the Far East six more times through November 1959, steaming mostly off the coasts of Korea and Japan. One important exception from this peacetime duty came in January 1955. Toledo was part of Task Force 77 and this unit steamed into the waters between Taiwan and mainland communist China to support the evacuation of Chinese Nationalist troops from the Tachen Islands. Toledo remained 1,500 yards off shore and was assigned to provide covering fire, if necessary, for the amphibious ships that were engaged in the actual evacuation. The operation was successfully completed and Toledo returned to her normal patrol duties.
On 5 January 1960, Toledo entered the Long Beach Naval Shipyard to begin her inactivation overhaul. The ship was decommissioned at Long Beach on 21 May 1960. She was eventually moved to San Diego, California, where she remained in reserve for the next 14 years. On 30 October 1974, USS Toledo was sold for scrapping. She received five battle stars for her service during the Korean War and proved how effective naval-based gunfire could be to a land campaign.
Posted by Remo at 9:07 AM