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USS Salt Lake City (CA-25)

USS Salt Lake City (CA-25)

USS Salt Lake City (CA-25)

USS Salt Lake City (CA-25) was a Pensacola class heavy cruiser that escorted the Doolittle raid, and fought at the battles of Midway and Guadalcanal, the battle of the Komandorski Islands, the invasion of the Gilbert Islands, the Marshall Islands, the second battle of the Philippine Sea and the invasions of Iwo Jima and Okinawa, winning eleven battle stars and the Navy Unit Commendation for her service during the Second World War.

Salt Lake City (CL-25) was laid down on 9 June 1927, launched on 23 January 1929 and commissioned on 11 December 1929. At first she was classified as a light cruiser, CL-25. After the London Naval Treaty of 1930 the US Navy reclassified its 8in cruisers as heavy cruisers, and on 1 July the Salt Lake Citybecame CA-25.

Her shakedown cruise took her to Maine, then in February-March 1930 she made a longer cruise to Cuba, the Virgin Islands and Brazil. On 31 March 1930 she joined Cruiser Division 2 of the Scouting Force (then based in the Atlantic), before on 12 September she was moved to CruDiv 5. Both divisions served off the US East Coast.

At the start of 1932 Salt Lake City, Chicago and Louisville moved to the west coast for fleet exercises, before being allocated to the Pacific Fleet. In September 1933 she joined CruDiv 3, and she was based on the US West Coast for the rest of the 1930s.

Between 12 October 1939 and 25 June 1940 the Salt Lake City cruised in the western Pacific, ranging between Pearl Harbor, Wake and Guam. In August 1941 she visited Brisbane, and at the start of December she was escorting the carrier Enterprise on her way back to Pearl Harbor from Wake Island. The small task force was 200 miles to the west of Pearl harbour on 7 December. It attempted to find the Japanese fleet, but failed, and reached Hawaii on 8 December.

On 9 December Enterpris eand Salt Lake City began an anti-submarine patrol north of Hawaii. On 10 December aircraft from the Enterprise sank the I-70, while on 11 December the Salt Lake City fired her guns at a second submarine, this time without success. She then formed part of Task Force 8, which was meant to lift the siege of Wake Island. Wake fell before the task force could intervene, and instead it was used to help move reinforcements to Midway and Samoa.

In February 1942 the Salt Lake City supported the Enterprise during attacks on seaplane bases on Wotje, Maloelap and Kwajalein in the eastern Marshalls. In March she supported an attack on Marcus Island and in April she was part of the escort for the carriers Hornet and Enterprise during the Doolittle Raid on Tokyo.

In May her task force was ordered to reinforce the Yorktown and Lexington in the Coral Sea, but they arrived too late to take part in the battle of the Coral Sea. The Salt Lake City was present at the Battle of Midway, but was part of the force providing protection for Midway Island itself.

The Salt Lake City took part in the fighting at Guadalcanal. She formed part of the screen for the Wasp before the invasion, then covered the American landing. She was escorting the Wasp when that carrier was sunk on 15 September and helped rescue the survivors. She was part of Task Force 64 during the battle of Cape Esperance (11-12 October 1942). This was one of the more successful night battles for the Americans, although the Salt Lake City was hit by three larger shells and spent the next four months at Pearl Harbor where she combined repairs and replenishment.

She returned to the front line in March 1943 when she sailed for the Aleutians. On 26 March 1943 she took par tin the battle of the Komandorski Islands, where Task Force 8 attempted to block a Japanese fore heading to Attu and Kiska. The Salt Lake City was the main target of Japanese gun fire. Her rudder controls were damaged, she suffered flooding forward, her boiler fires went out after salt water got into the fuel oil pipes and she was left dead in the water. Only heavy smoke protected her from further damage. The Japanese retreated without getting reinforcements to their bases. Salt Lake Citywas used to cover the invasions of Attu and Kiska, then returned to Pearl Harbor in mid October 1943. She was awarded the Navy Unit Commendation for her part in the Aleutian campaign.

The Salt Lake City was part of Task Group 50.3, the Southern Carrier Group, during Operation Galvanic - the invasion of the Gilbert Islands. She joined the task group on 13 November. On 19 November she bombarded Betio (Tarawa) and also helped fight off Japanese air attacks.

She was part of the Neutralization Group, TG 50.15, during the invasion of the Marshall Islands. From 29 January to 17 February 1944 she bombarded Wotje and Taroa. On 30 March and 1 April she raided Palau, Yap, Ulithi and Woleai in the Caroline Islands and then she returned to Pearl Harbor. From there she went to California, and then in July she returned to the Aleutians. This time the weather prevented any meaningful operations and she was back at Pearl Harbor by 13 August.

On 3 September she was part of the force that bombarded Wake Island (along with the Pensacola and the carrier Monterey CVL-26). On 9 September the two cruisers bombarded Marcus Island to distract Japanese attention away from the Philippines and a raid on Formosa.

During the second battle of the Philippine Sea (October 1944) the Salt Lake City screened the carrier strike force. Between 8 November 1944 and 25 January 1945 she was part of CruDiv 5, TF 54, which carried out a series of attacks on Japanese bases on the Volcano Islands. These were being used to launch attacks against the B-29 bases on Saipan.

In February 1945 the Salt Lake City was part of TF 54, the Gunfire and Covering Force, during the last stages of the invasion of Iwo Jima. She was active at Iwo Jima until 13 March then moved to Okinawa, where she remained until 29 May. She then went to Leyte for repairs. During July she was operating in the East China Sea, before on 8 August she was ordered back to the Aleutians. She was still on her way when Japan surrendered, and on 31 August she was ordered to move to Ominato on northern Honshu to help occupy the Japanese naval base.

After the end of the war Salt Lake City was used on 'Magic Carpet' trips, taking US troops back home from the Pacific. She then became part of the test fleet during the Bikini Atoll atomic bomb tests. She survived both the aerial burst test on 1 July and the underwater test of 25 July. She was decommissioned on 29 August 1946, and finally sunk as a target on 25 May 1948 off the coast of California. Rather oddly she wasn't struck off the Navy list until 18 June, three weeks later.

Displacement (standard)


Displacement (loaded)


Top Speed



10,000nm at 15kts

Armour – deck


- over machinery


- side of magazines


- over magazines


- barbettes


- gun houses face


- gun houses top


- gun houses other



586ft 8in oa


Ten 8in/55 guns (two 3-gun and two 2-gun turrets)
Four 5in/25 guns (four single positions)
6 21in torpedo tubes
4 aircraft

Crew complement


Laid down

9 June 1927


23 January 1929


11 December 1929


25 May 1948

USS Salt Lake City (CA-25) - History

USS Salt Lake City , a 9100-ton Pensacola class heavy cruiser built at Camden, New Jersey, was commissioned in December 1929. Her original hull number, CL-25, was changed to CA-25 in July 1931. The ship's first two years of active service were spent in the Atlantic area. She shifted her base to the U.S. west coast in early 1932 and was thereafter generally in the Pacific, with occasional trips through the Panama Canal for brief operations in the Caribbean and Atlantic. In mid-1941, Salt Lake City crossed the Pacific to visit Australia.

On 7 December 1941, when the United States was brought into World War II by the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Salt Lake City was operating with the USS Enterprise task group. She remained in the Hawaiian area for the next two months, then participated in her task force's central Pacific raids during February and March 1942. In April, she was part of the force that executed the Doolittle raid on Japan. During August-October 1942, Salt Lake City was in the south Pacific to support the campaign to seize and hold Guadalcanal. She escorted USS Wasp during the landings of 7-8 August and subsequent operations, and was present when Wasp was sunk by a Japanese submarine on 15 September. On 11-12 October, Salt Lake City helped fight the Battle of Cape Esperance, receiving damage from enemy gunfire.

Following repairs, Salt Lake City was sent to the north Pacific. There, on 26 March 1943 she was the largest U.S. ship present during the Battle of the Komandorski Islands, and was again damaged by Japanese shells. She continued her support of the Aleutian Campaign until September, when she returned to Hawaii to prepare for central Pacific operations. These included the seizure of the Gilbert Islands in November 1943, the invasion of the Marshalls in January and February 1944, and raids on Japanese bases in February-April. The cruiser had a brief north Pacific tour in mid-1944, followed by further central Pacific operations. She took part in carrier operations prior to and during the October 1944 Battle of Leyte Gulf.

In 1945, Salt Lake City participated in the Iwo Jima and Okinawa campaigns. After the fighting ended in August, she supported the Occupation of Japan and "Magic Carpet" operations to transport American servicemen back to the U.S. The now-elderly cruiser was then placed in relatively inactive status until sent to serve as a target during the July 1946 atomic bomb tests at Bikini Atoll. Left severely damaged by this experience, USS Salt Lake City was decommissioned a month later. She was sunk as a target for conventional weapons in May 1948.

This page features selected views concerning USS Salt Lake City (CA-25).

If you want higher resolution reproductions than the digital images presented here, see: "How to Obtain Photographic Reproductions."

Click on the small photograph to prompt a larger view of the same image.

Underway during the early 1930s. She is flying the flag of the President of the United States at her mainmast peak.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Online Image: 125KB 740 x 595 pixels

Photographed during the early 1930s.

Donation of Captain Alan Brown, USN(Retired), 1976.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Online Image: 68KB 740 x 445 pixels

At Brisbane, Australia, in mid-1941, while wearing "false-bow-wave" camouflage.

Donation of Captain Church Chappell, USN(Retired), 1974.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Online Image: 60KB 740 x 525 pixels

At Dutch Harbor, Alaska, on 29 March 1943, three days after she participated in the Battle of the Komandorski Islands.
Note staining on her hull side, possibly from ice.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.

Online Image: 44KB 740 x 620 pixels

Reproductions of this image may also be available through the National Archives photographic reproduction system.

Off the Mare Island Navy Yard, California, 10 May 1943.
Note the barrage balloons in the distance.

Photograph from the Bureau of Ships Collection in the U.S. National Archives.

Online Image: 66KB 740 x 590 pixels

Reproductions of this image may also be available through the National Archives photographic reproduction system.

USS Salt Lake City (CA-25) ,
USS Pensacola (CA-24) and
USS New Orleans (CA-32) (listed from left to right)

Nested together at Pearl Harbor, 31 October 1943.
Ford Island is at the left, with USS Oklahoma (BB-37) under salvage at the extreme left, just beyond Salt Lake City 's forward superstructure.
Note the radar antennas, gun directors and eight-inch guns on these three heavy cruisers.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.

Online Image: 114KB 740 x 610 pixels

Reproductions of this image may also be available through the National Archives photographic reproduction system.

Off the Mare Island Navy Yard, California, 21 June 1944.

Photograph from the Bureau of Ships Collection in the U.S. National Archives.

Online Image: 69KB 740 x 600 pixels

Reproductions of this image may also be available through the National Archives photographic reproduction system.

View of the ship's bow wave, looking forward along her port side as she was heading west across the Pacific during the 1930s.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Online Image: 99KB 580 x 765 pixels

Fires her after 8"/55 guns while bombarding a Japanese-held island in February 1942.
This view has long been identified has a scene from the 24 February bombardment of Wake. However, it may have been taken on 1 February, during the bombardment of Wotje, in the Marshall Islands.
Note Curtiss SOC "Seagull" floatplane in the foreground, with the cruiser's after stack and aircraft crane immediately to the right.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Online Image: 91KB 740 x 595 pixels

Battle of the Komandorski Islands , 26 March 1943

USS Salt Lake City (CA-25) in action during the battle, with an enemy salvo landing astern.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.

Online Image: 66KB 740 x 610 pixels

Reproductions of this image may also be available through the National Archives photographic reproduction system.

Battle of the Komandorski Islands , 26 March 1943

Officers plotting a track chart of the action, following the battle. Photographed in the wardroom of USS Salt Lake City (CA-25) on 29 March 1943, after she had arrived at Dutch Harbor, Alaska.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.

Online Image: 108KB 740 x 620 pixels

Reproductions of this image may also be available through the National Archives photographic reproduction system.

Firing her forward 8"/55 guns while bombarding Iwo Jima, 23 January 1945.

USS Salt Lake City (CA-25) - History

Message from John Mercer
SLC Assoc. President
for the 2018 Reunion

Picture of Rich Noar & the Statues of the
Naval Honor Guard Sailor

Summary of 2017 Reunion
from Randy Oppenheimer, VP 2017

2014 USS SLC CA25 Assoc. Reunion
Highlights & Business Meeting Minutes,
in Charleston, SC.

USS SLC CA25 Plaque Dedication
at the Nimitz Museum June 23rd, 2009
in Fredericksburg, TX.

To those who are not currently active in the affairs of the Association, we Urge you to become active. If you have never attended an Association Reunion, you have missed an experience that is both rewarding and enjoyable, and one that you will never forget.


Who can Join?
SLC Veterans, Spouses, Widows, Sons, Daughters, Step-daughters, Stepsons, Grandsons, Grand-daughters, Nephews, Nieces, Brothers-in-law, Sisters-in-law & people interested in keeping our history alive can become a member of the USS SLC Association.

Let's keep the Memory of the old "Swayback" and her "Crew" alive!

Here is a FORM for you to PRINT OUT and mail when joining.

Moving? Please contact Sandy Eskew with your NEW MAILING ADDRESS
We don't want to LOSE TRACK OF YOU.


An Active member in the USS Salt Lake City CA25 Association is a shipmate, family member and/or friend that pays dues. Dues are $60.00 a year, due in January of each year. When you send in your dues you will be added to the roster and receive the "Saltshaker" Newsletter each time it comes out. [2-3 times a year]

USS Salt Lake City (SSN-716)

USS Salt Lake City (SSN-716), a Los Angeles-class submarine, was the second ship of the United States Navy to be named for Salt Lake City, Utah. The contract to build her was awarded to Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company in Newport News, Virginia on 15 September 1977 and her keel was laid down on 26 August 1980. She was launched on 16 October 1982 sponsored by Mrs. Kathleen Garn, and commissioned on 12 May 1984, with Commander Richard Itkin in command.

Actor Scott Glenn trained aboard, and was installed as (honorary) commander for a brief time, aboard Salt Lake City in preparation for his part as Bart Mancuso, Captain of USS Dallas in the film The Hunt for Red October.

Salt Lake City was featured in The History Channel's Mail Call when R. Lee Ermey answered viewer questions about life inside a submarine.

On 22 October 2004, Salt Lake City returned from a deployment with the USS John C. Stennis carrier strike group in the western Pacific Ocean, after surging, over a month ahead of schedule, in support of Summer Pulse '04. Port calls during the deployment included Guam, Sasebo, Yokosuka, Singapore, and Oahu, Hawaii.

Salt Lake City conducted an inactivation ceremony in San Diego on 26 October 2005, then departed for a transit under the polar ice. On 15 January 2006 she was decommissioned at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. Over a year later, the hulk was taken under tow, arriving on 8 May 2007 at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, where she will be recycled and scrapped.

Salt Lake City earned numerous awards during her eight full deployments, including three Battle "E" Battle Efficiency Awards, three Navy Unit Commendations and three Meritorious Unit Commendations.

  • 29 May 2005 – 7 July 2005 – Secretary of the Navy Letter of Commendation
  • 1 July 2003 – 31 December 2004 – Meritorious Unit Commendation*Awarded to units assigned to Carrier Strike Group 7
  • 1 April 2004 – 31 October 2004 – Meritorious Unit Commendation
  • 1 January 2002 – 31 December 2002 – Navy E Ribbon
  • 1 January 1999 – 31 December 1999 – Navy E Ribbon
  • 1 March 2000 – 31 August 2000 – Secretary of the Navy Letter of Commendation
  • 1 September 1998 – 1 December 1998 – Navy Unit Commendation
  • 2 January 1997 – 24 February 1997 – Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
  • 1 March 1992 – 1 March 1995 – Meritorious Unit Commendation*Awarded to units assigned to Submarine Squadron 3
  • 1 October 1988 – 30 September 1989 – Navy E Ribbon
  • 1 January 1988 – 1 July 1988 – Navy Unit Commendation
  • 1 April 1986 – 1 October 1986 – Navy Unit Commendation

This article includes information collected from the public domain sources Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships and Naval Vessel Register.


This section lists the names and designations that the ship had during its lifetime. The list is in chronological order.

    Pensacola Class Cruiser
    Keel Laid 9 June 1927 - Launched 23 January 1929

Naval Covers

This section lists active links to the pages displaying covers associated with the ship. There should be a separate set of pages for each incarnation of the ship (ie, for each entry in the "Ship Name and Designation History" section). Covers should be presented in chronological order (or as best as can be determined).

Since a ship may have many covers, they may be split among many pages so it doesn't take forever for the pages to load. Each page link should be accompanied by a date range for covers on that page.


This section lists examples of the postmarks used by the ship. There should be a separate set of postmarks for each incarnation of the ship (ie, for each entry in the "Ship Name and Designation History" section). Within each set, the postmarks should be listed in order of their classification type. If more than one postmark has the same classification, then they should be further sorted by date of earliest known usage.

A postmark should not be included unless accompanied by a close-up image and/or an image of a cover showing that postmark. Date ranges MUST be based ONLY ON COVERS IN THE MUSEUM and are expected to change as more covers are added.
>>> If you have a better example for any of the postmarks, please feel free to replace the existing example.

The USS Salt Lake City Made History

The cruiser USS Salt Lake City, also called the “Swayback Maru,” helped gain revenge for the sinking of the USS Utah at Pearl Harbor. In fact, before the war was over, the Salt Lake City would be unofficially credited with taking part in more naval engagements than any ship in the fleet. The “one-ship fleet,” another of her nicknames, survived everything, including its own nation’s most destructive weapons.

The Salt Lake City was one of eight modern cruisers authorized under the Washington Arms Limits agreement of 1921. When she was launched on January 23, 1929, she was one of the most powerful and high-speed vessels in the U.S. fleet. By 1941, however, the cruiser had been extensively modified and was considered near the end of its useful life. By good fortune the Salt Lake City was accompanying the carrier USS Enterprise as it delivered aircraft to Wake Island on December 7, 1941, and so avoided the disaster at Pearl Harbor.

The cruiser was part of Admiral Halsey’s force that retaliated for Pearl Harbor with a raid on the Marshall Islands in February 1942. The Salt Lake City apparently opened fire on Wotje Island a few seconds before other American vessels, and it is credited with being the first ship to fire on Japanese-held territory. In April she helped escort the Doolittle raid that bombed Tokyo. Wartime secrecy dictated that ships’ real names not be used, so war correspondent Robert J. Casey nicknamed the old ship the “Swayback Maru” (maru is Japanese for “ship”) in his dispatches home.

The Salt Lake City continued to be in the thick of the action, including the fierce fighting near the Solomon Islands. In the Battle of Esperance on October 11, 1942, the cruiser took so many hits and delivered so many in return that she was nicknamed “the one-ship fleet.” In the battle of the Komandorskie Islands, part of the effort to block the Japanese occupation of the Aleutians, the Salt Lake City was so badly damaged that her crew shook hands and prepared to die when she went down. The ship was ultimately saved, however, by near-suicidal attacks on the powerful Japanese cruisers by lightly armed American destroyers.

The American offensive island-hopped across the Pacific, meeting desperate resistance from the Japanese. The Salt Lake City participated in fierce battles for the Gilberts, Marshalls, Philippines, and Iwo Jima. Its final action included the bombardment of Okinawa in March 1945.

The immense atomic explosions that flattened Hiroshima and Nagasaki ended the war and inaugurated a new and frightening chapter in modern warfare. The Salt Lake City played a role in the further development of these powerful weapons. In 1946 the Swayback Maru and other obsolete vessels served as part of the atomic bomb test fleet near Bikini Atoll in the Pacific. Although the ship survived, she was deemed highly radioactive and on May 25, 1948, ships and aircraft sank the Salt Lake City off the southern California coast.

See: Robert Anthony Sumbot, “The Utah Fleet: A History of Ships in the United States Navy that Bore Utah Place Names and Personality Names.”

USS Salt Lake City (CA-25) - History

1/700 USS Salt Lake City CA-25

Pennsacola Class Heavy Cruiser
Reviewed by Timothy Dike
The USS Salt Lake City a member of the Pensacola Class, the first of the treaty cruisers, limited to 10,000 tons. These ungainly looking cruisers were easily distinguished from their counterparts in their unusual main gun arrangement of a triple turret over a twin turret both fore and aft. If that didn't tip you off the large tripod conning tower would. These two heavy cruisers fought thought out the Pacific, from Pearl Harbor to Japan. The Salt Lake City underwent a refit that slightly lowered her conning tower

This is a nice kit and currently the only one available of the Salt Lake City in this scale. Her sister ship is also available in an early war appearance. This kit is currently listed for $65.00 US. Check out this kit and the other HP Models in the latest Pacific Front Update.

USS Salt Lake City (CA-25)

For other ships of the same name, see USS Salt Lake City.

Awarded: 11 Battle stars, Navy Unit Commendation

Commissioned: 11 December 1929

Decommissioned: 29 August 1947

Fate: Sunk as a target in 1948

Class and type: Pensacola-class cruiser

Displacement: 10,826 long tons (11,000 t)

Length: 585 ft 6 in (178.46 m)

Installed power: 107,000 shp (80,000 kW)

Propulsion: 4 × Parsons geared steam turbines

Speed: 32.7 kn (37.6 mph 60.6 km/h)

Complement: 612 officers and enlisted

Armament: 10 × 8 in (200 mm)/55 cal guns (2x3, 2x2)

4 × 5 in (130 mm)/25 cal anti-aircraft guns[1]

6 × 21 in (530 mm) torpedo tubes

Aircraft carried: 4 × floatplanes

Aviation facilities: 2 × catapults

USS Salt Lake City (CL/CA-25) of the United States Navy was a Pensacola-class heavy cruiser sometimes known as "Swayback Maru". She had the (unofficial) distinction of having taken part in more engagements than any other ship in the fleet. She was also the first ship to be named after Salt Lake City, Utah.

She was laid down on 9 June 1927, by the American Brown Boveri Electric Corporation, a subsidiary of the New York Shipbuilding Corporation, at Camden, New Jersey launched on 23 January 1929, sponsored by Helen Budge,[2][3] a grand-daughter of leading Mormon missionary, William Budge and commissioned on 11 December 1929, at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, Captain Frederick Lansing Oliver in command.

Salt Lake City departed Philadelphia on 20 January 1930, for shakedown trials off the Maine coast. She began her first extended cruise on 10 February visited Guantánamo Bay, Cuba Culebra, Virgin Islands Rio de Janeiro and Bahia, Brazil then returned to Guantanamo Bay where—on 31 March—she joined Cruiser Division 2 (CruDiv 2) of the Scouting Force. With this division, she operated along the New England coast until 12 September, when she was reassigned to CruDiv 5. Salt Lake City then operated off New York, Cape Cod, and Chesapeake Bay through 1931. On 1 July, she was reclassified CA-25.

Early in 1932, Salt Lake City—with Chicago and Louisville—steamed to the West Coast for fleet maneuvers. They arrived at San Pedro, California on 7 March, and following the scheduled exercises, were reassigned to the Pacific Fleet. Salt Lake City visited Pearl Harbor in January–February 1933 and, in September, she was attached to CruDiv 4. From October 1933-January 1934, she underwent overhaul at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard then resumed duty with CruDiv 4. In May, she sailed for New York to participate in the Fleet Review and returned to San Pedro on 18 December.

Through 1935, Salt Lake City ranged the West Coast from San Diego to Seattle. In the first months of 1936, she conducted extensive gunnery exercises at San Clemente Island, and on 27 April departed San Pedro to participate in combined surface-subsurface operations at Balboa, Panama Canal Zone. Salt Lake City returned to San Pedro on 15 June and resumed West Coast operations until sailing for Hawaii on 25 April 1937. She returned to the West Coast on 20 May.

Her next extended cruise began on 13 January 1939, when she departed for the Caribbean, via the Panama Canal. During the next three months, she visited Panama, Colombia, the Virgin Islands, Trinidad, Cuba, and Haiti returning to San Pedro on 7 April. From 12 October 1939-25 June 1940, she cruised between Pearl Harbor, Wake, and Guam, utilizing the services of Vestal while at Pearl Harbor. In August 1941, she visited Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.

On 7 December 1941, when the United States was brought into World War II by the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Salt Lake City—under the command of Capt. Ellis M. Zacharias—was with the Enterprise task group, returning from Wake Island, 200 nmi (230 mi 370 km) west of Pearl Harbor when they received word of the attack. The group immediately launched scouting planes in hopes of catching possible stragglers from the enemy force, but the search proved fruitless. The ships entered Pearl Harbor toward sundown on the 8th.

After a tedious night refueling, they sortied before dawn to hunt submarines north of the islands. Submarines were encountered on the 10th-11th. The first—I-70—was sunk by dive bombers from Enterprise the second—sighted ahead of the group on the surface—was engaged with gunfire by Salt Lake City as the ships maneuvered to avoid torpedoes. Screening destroyers made numerous depth charge runs, but no kill was confirmed. Operations against a third contact brought similar results. The group returned to Pearl Harbor on 15 December to refuel.

Salt Lake City operated with Task Force 8 (TF 8) until 23 December, covering Oahu and supporting the task force strike that was planned to relieve beleaguered Wake Island. After Wake fell, Salt Lake City′s group carried out air strikes in the eastern Marshalls at Wotje, Maloelap, and Kwajalein to reduce enemy seaplane bases. While conducting shore bombardment during those strikes, Salt Lake City came under air attack and assisted in downing two Japanese bombers. In March, she supported air strikes at Marcus Island.

In April, she escorted TF 16, which launched the Doolittle Raid on Tokyo and other Japanese cities, and returned to Pearl Harbor on 25 April. Orders awaited the ships to sail as soon as possible to join the Yorktown and Lexington forces in the Coral Sea. Although the task force moved fast, it had only reached a point some 450 mi (390 nmi 720 km) east of Tulagi by 8 May, the day of the Battle of the Coral Sea. What followed was essentially a retirement, and Salt Lake City operated as cover with her group on the 11th off the New Hebrides, and from the 12th-16th eastward from Efate and Santa Cruz. On 16 May, she was ordered back to Pearl Harbor and arrived there 10 days later.

Salt Lake City, Pensacola and New Orleans (left to right) at Pearl Harbor in 1943

The carrier groups began intensive preparations to meet the expected Japanese thrust at Midway Atoll. During the battle, early in June, Salt Lake City provided rear guard protection for the islands.

From August–October 1942, Salt Lake City was in the south Pacific to support the campaign to seize and hold Guadalcanal. She escorted Wasp during the landings of 7–8 August and subsequent operations.

Salt Lake City protected Wasp as she shuttled planes for Saratoga and Enterprise, and provided Combat Air Patrol (CAP) and scouting patrols during the landings. Salt Lake City was with Wasp on 15 September when the carrier was torpedoed by Japanese submarines and sunk. She assisted in rescue operations for survivors, and took on board others who had been picked up by Lardner.

[edit] Battle of Cape Esperance

The campaign in the Solomons developed into a grim struggle which climaxed on the night of 11–12 October in the Battle of Cape Esperance. TF 64 was formed around Salt Lake City, Boise, Helena, and San Francisco to attack the "Tokyo Express", a steady flow of Japanese vessels maintaining reinforcement and resupply to Guadalcanal. The force was not considered large enough to get involved with a major Japanese covering force they were interested primarily in inflicting maximum damage to the transports. They arrived off Espiritu Santo on 7 October, and for two days steamed near Guadalcanal and waited. Land-based search-plane reports came in that an enemy force was steaming down the "slot" and—that night, TF 64 moved to the vicinity of Savo Island to intercept it.

Search planes were ordered launched from the cruisers, but in the process of launching, Salt Lake City′s plane caught fire as flares ignited in the cockpit. The plane crashed close to the ship and the pilot managed to get free. He later found safety on a nearby island. The brilliant fire was seen in the darkness by the Japanese flag officers, who assumed that it was a signal flare from the landing force which they were sent to protect. The Japanese flagship answered with blinker light, and receiving no reply, continued to signal. The American force formed a battle line at right angles to the Japanese T-formation, and thus were able to enfilade the enemy ships. The American cruisers opened fire and continued scoring hits for a full seven minutes before the confused Japanese realized what was taking place. They had believed that, by error, their own forces were taking them under fire. When the Japanese warships replied, their fire was too little and too late. The action was over in half an hour. One Japanese cruiser sank another was reduced to rubble a third was holed twice, and a destroyer sank. One destroyer of the five-ship force escaped damage. Salt Lake City sustained three major hits during the action. Boise was severely crippled, but managed to rejoin the group under her own power. Duncan was left gutted off Savo Island. The ships formed up and steamed to Espiritu Santo.

Salt Lake City spent the next four months at Pearl Harbor undergoing repairs and replenishing. Late in March 1943, she departed for the Aleutian Islands and operated from Adak Island to prevent the Japanese from supporting their garrisons on Attu and Kiska. Operating in TF 8, Salt Lake City was accompanied by Richmond and four destroyers when they made contact on 26 March with some Japanese transports, escorted by the heavy cruisers Nachi and Maya, the light cruisers Tama and Abukuma, and four destroyers, led by Vice Admiral Boshiro Hosogoya[4] leading to the Battle of the Komandorski Islands.

Salt Lake City, damaged by Japanese cruiser gunfire, starts losing speed prior to going dead in the water during the battle under a smoke screen laid by accompanying destroyers.

Mistakenly believing that easy pickings were in store, the American warships formed up and closed the range. Two transports fled for safety as the Japanese warships turned to engage. The American group was outgunned and outnumbered, but pressed on and made a course change in hopes of getting a shot at the transports before the escorts could intervene. There was also a possibility that the Japanese would split their force and that Salt Lake City and Richmond could tackle a portion of them on more equal terms.

The opposing cruisers simultaneously opened fire at a range of 20,000 yd (18,000 m). The ensuing battle was a retiring action on the part of the Americans, for the Japanese foiled their attempt to get to the auxiliaries. Salt Lake City received most of the attention and soon received two hits, one of them amidships, mortally wounding two men, but she responded with very accurate fire. Her rudder stops were carried away, limiting her to 10° course changes. Another hit soon flooded forward compartments. Under cover of a thick smoke screen and aggressive torpedo attacks by the destroyers, the American cruisers were able to make an evasive turn, which for a while allowed the range to open. Salt Lake City soon began taking hits again and her boiler fires died one by one. Salt water had entered the fuel oil feed lines. There was now cause for grave concern she lay dead in the water, and the Japanese ships were closing fast. Luckily, she was hidden in the smoke, and the enemy was not aware of her plight.

The destroyers charged the Japanese cruisers and began to draw the fire away from the damaged Salt Lake City. Bailey suffered two 8 in (200 mm) hits while launching a spread of five torpedoes at long range. In the meantime, Salt Lake City′s engineers purged the fuel lines and fired the boilers. With fresh oil supplying the fires, she built up steam and gained headway. Suddenly, the Japanese began to withdraw, because they were fast exhausting their ammunition. They did not suspect that the Americans were in far worse shape in terms of both ammunition and fuel.

Despite being outnumbered two to one, the Americans succeeded in their purpose. The Japanese attempt to reinforce their bases in the Aleutians had failed and they turned tail and headed home. Salt Lake City later covered the American liberation of Attu and Kiska which ended the Aleutian Campaign. She departed Adak on 23 September and sailed, via San Francisco, to Pearl Harbor where she arrived on 14 October.

The Allied offensive strategy in the Pacific now focused on the Marshall Islands. A two-column thrust through Micronesia and the Bismarck Archipelago would force the enemy to disperse his forces, deny him the opportunity for a flanking movement, and provide the Allies with the choice of where and when to strike next. To obtain adequate intelligence for planning the Marshalls operation, the Gilbert Islands would have to be secured for use as a staging area and launch point for photographic missions. Salt Lake City was assigned to Task Group 50.3 9TG 50.3) of the Southern Carrier Group for the Gilbert Islands Campaign, Operation Galvanic.

Salt Lake City conducted rigorous gunnery training until 8 November, when she sailed to join Essex, Bunker Hill, and Independence which had carried out preliminary strikes on Wake, as a diversion on 5–6 October, and at Rabaul on 11 November. Salt Lake City joined on the 13th off Funafuti, Ellice Islands, following the carriers' fueling rendezvous at Espiritu Santo. She then saw action on the 19th as she bombarded Betio at Tarawa Atoll, in the Gilberts. That day and the next, she fought off repeated torpedo plane attacks aimed for the flattops. Tarawa was secured by the 28th. This was the first Pacific amphibious operation to be vigorously opposed at the beach, and many lessons were learned here to be applied in the island campaigns to follow.

Salt Lake City was attached to the Neutralization Group—TG 50.15—for the long-awaited Marshalls Campaign. From 29 January-17 February 1944, she conducted shore bombardment at Wotje and Taroa islands which were bypassed and cut off from support as the major forces concentrated on Majuro, Eniwetok, and Kwajalein. This leapfrog technique worked well and eliminated the needless casualties that would result in mopping up every Japanese-held island. On 30 March–1 April, Salt Lake City participated in raids on Palau, Yap, Ulithi, and Woleai in the western Caroline Islands archipelago. The cruiser anchored at Majuro on 6 April and remained until 25 April, when she sailed—unescorted—for Pearl Harbor.

Salt Lake City arrived at Pearl Harbor on 30 April and sailed the next day for Mare Island Naval Shipyard. She arrived on 7 May and operated in the San Francisco Bay area until 1 July. She then proceeded to Adak, Alaska arriving on the 8th. In the Aleutians, her operations, including a scheduled bombardment at Paramushiro were curtailed by severe weather, and she returned to Pearl Harbor on 13 August.

Salt Lake City sortied with Pensacola and Monterey on 29 August to attack Wake Island. They shelled that island on 3 September, and then proceeded to Eniwetok to remain until the 24th. The cruisers then moved to Saipan for patrol duty after which, on 6 October, they proceeded to Marcus Island to create a diversion in connection with raids on Formosa. They shelled Marcus on 9 September and returned to Saipan.

In October, during the second Battle of the Philippine Sea, Salt Lake City returned to screen and support duty with the carrier strike groups against Japanese bases and surface craft. Based at Ulithi, she supported the carriers between 15 and 26 October. From 8 November 1944-25 January 1945, she operated with CruDiv 5, TF 54, in bombardment against the Volcano Islands to neutralize airfields through which the Japanese staged bombing raids on the B-29 Superfortresses based at Saipan. These raids were coordinated with B-24 Liberator strikes. In February, she operated in the Gunfire and Covering Force—TF 54—during the final phases of securing Iwo Jima and the initial operations in the campaign to capture Okinawa.

Salt Lake City provided call-fire at Iwo Jima until 13 March, and then concentrated her activities at Okinawa until 28 May, when she put into Leyte for repairs and upkeep. She returned to Okinawa to cover minesweeping operations and general patrol in the East China Sea on 6 July. A month later, on 8 August, she sailed for the Aleutians via Saipan. While en route to Adak, she received word on 31 August to proceed to northern Honshū, Japan, to cover the occupation of Ominato Naval Base.

Like many warships at the close of the war, Salt Lake City was almost immediately slated for deactivation. She was originally ordered to report to Commander, 3rd Fleet, upon arrival on the west coast, in October, for deactivation. On 29 October, however, she was diverted to Operation Magic Carpet duty to return veterans of the Pacific theater to the U.S.

On 14 November, she was added to the list of warships to be used as test vessels for "Operation Crossroads", the Atomic Bomb Experiments and Evaluation Tests at Bikini Atoll. She was partially stripped and her crew reduced prior to sailing to Pearl Harbor in March 1946.

Salt Lake City was used in evaluating the effects on surface vessels during an initial test with an aerial atomic bomb burst on 1 July and during the second test of a subsurface burst on the 25th. Surviving two atomic bomb blasts, she was decommissioned on 29 August and laid up to await ultimate disposal. She was sunk as a target hull on 25 May 1948, 130 mi (110 nmi 210 km) off the coast of southern California and struck from the Naval Vessel Register on 18 June 1948.

USS Salt Lake City (CA-25) - History

This beautiful Model was made by a man that belongs to a "Model Building Club" in SLC. His name was unknown at the time of this posting, but thanks to Richard Noar, son of SLC Veteran, Abraham A. Noar, S1c, we now know who this man is. Here is the article that Richard Noar found on the Internet:

Deseret News, by Steve Fidel, Staff Writer: Published on May 5th, 1992

The U.S.S. Salt Lake City earned 11 battle stars during WWII before it was subjected to two aerial atomic blasts and then sunk as a target hull in 1948.

Now the heavy cruiser rests beneath 10,000 feet of water 130 miles west of Long Beach, CA. But its likeness has been re-created in a detailed model on display at the Fort Douglas Museum. Building the Salt Lake City played into a lifelong ambition for Salt Lake modeler Curt Grinaker, whose other naval modeling ventures include passenger and crew figures aboard the Enoch Train clipper ship, finished in 1981 and now on display at the Museum of Church History and Art west of Temple Square and his re-creation of Christopher Columbus' Santa Maria, which he finished in 1982.

Grinaker undertook the project after modelers calling their group "Utah Ships" had its first meetings at the military museum at Fort Douglas. The group contemplated a major shipbuilding project, but Grinaker decided to build the model solo even though the museum could cover only the cost of materials, which ran about $2,400.

Much of that cost was tied up in research, which also soaked up a lot of time. Grinaker first started asking the National Archives for information about the ship during the fall of 1987. A full year passed before a volunteer at the archives' was assigned to dig out once-classified photographs and original drawings Grinaker used to start assembling the ship, which he finished one year ago.

A fiberglass hull, bought from a California firm, needed only minor modifications to meet construction specifications. The rest of the 1/96-scale model was built from scratch out of fiberglass, aluminum, resin, wood and plastic.

The Salt Lake City underwent several modifications after being launched Jan. 23rd, 1929. Grinaker chose to represent the cruiser after its first major remodeling in May, 1943. His research of the ship's construction and modifications gave him a good dose of World War II history.

The Salt Lake City was returning from Wake Island as an escort for the carrier Enterprise and was 200 miles west of Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7th, 1941, when the ship received word of the Japanese Attack. It saw battle action at Wake Island, Midway and Samoa and was part of the task force that launched the B-25 Doolittle raids on Tokyo in April 1942.

American ships were poising to intercept the flow of Japanese vessels maintaining reinforcement to Guadalcanal, when the Salt Lake City sent out one of its catapult-launched search planes. But flares ignited in the cockpit and the plane crashed close to the ship.

Japanese flag officers saw the fire in the darkness and assumed they were seeing the signal flares from their own landing forces, so they responded with a blinker light that gave their location away to the Americans.

The Salt Lake City and companion cruisers, Boise, Helena and San Francisco, began firing on the Japanese ships, which initially thought their own forces were taking them under fire by mistake. About 30 minutes later, the American ships had sunk a Japanese destroyer and a cruiser, had destroyed a second cruiser and crippled a third.

The Salt Lake City continued to fight in the Pacific through the balance of the war with the Japanese. It was headed for deactivation in October 1945 after the war's end when it was diverted to atomic bomb tests at Bikini Atoll, where it was subjected to two aerial nuclear blasts. The ship was decommissioned Aug. 29th, 1946. It was sunk as a targe hull on May 25th, 1948.

The spectacular war record was one reason Grinaker chose to recreate the Salt Lake City instead of the USS Utah, an older battleship that had been converted to a target ship before it was sunk during the Japanese attack over Pearl Harbor.

At times, Grinaker said he spent 30 to 50 hours a week working on the ship, in addition to his marketing job with AT&T, just to get the project finished. But modeling remains both a professional pursuit and an avenue for adventure and relaxation that has stuck with him since childhood.

Grinaker hopes to win a commission from the museum to build another U.S.S. Salt Lake City - the Navy's Los Angeles-class nuclear attack submarine that was launched in Oct. of 1983.

Richard Noar
had this beautiful model made in memory of his dad,
Abraham Noar

William Patrick
Plank Owner of the USS SLC CA25
Made this beautiful "whittled" model

Frank Bell
made this beautiful model out of heavy aluminum.
The model is 9' & 3" & weighs 200 pounds

Roderick Woolworth
Made this beautiful handmade model out of balsa wood

Maurice Kidney
Made this beautiful model

USS Salt Lake City (CA-25) - History

I started building my first ship, the USS Salt Lake City in 1983, with a set of Jeff Poindexter's plans, and a sheet of cheap lumberyard plywood. After several travails, I managed to visit Decatur, Alabama and Dan Hamilton's Fall 1984 regionals, where I actually got to see ships, and see them battling, and where I received lots of great advice from Dan Hamilton, Tom Jass, Jim Lisher, and others. Armed with this advice, I returned home and finished her in July of 1985, just in time for the 1985 Nats. She was a typical rookie cruiser, in that she featured a bow gun and a stern gun, a single pump, and systems that were generally ineffective. At one point, I launched her (in June, I think) with 4 RE-260 motors for propulsion, driving all four props with Dumas plastic props. Oops. I had plenty of advice (via tape) from Tom Jass, but good advice can only get you so far, especially when you're a 16 year old kid who has no clue how to apply it..

Travails of construction aside, she (and I) made our rookie appearance at the 1985 Nats, and what a Nats it was. Being a wee lad, I was overwhelmed to meet the likes of Terry Darby, Steve Milholland, Stan Watkins, the inimitable Fluegel, and all the other legends of the hobby. I was also quite relieved to find out that we were going to have a separate rookie fleet to help reduce frequency problems, and give us new guys a chance to get our feet wet in slightly less hostile waters. So it was that on Sunday night, I prepared my ship for what was going to be a very interesting and informative week.

Monday began with the first fleet battle. That is, the one with the veterans. It was very exciting to see the vets slugging it out, as the Allies, who had some practice that Spring with the new singleshot guns whupped up on the Axis. Then, it was time for our battle. The only rookies prepared for Monday's battle were myself, and Brian Schneider whose father graciously provided him with a working ship, the DKM Admiral Scheer. We were joined by Jeff West's Wisconsin, and Gerald Roberts' IJN Nagato, both of which missed the main fleet battle due to technical difficulties. The battle began with both - yes, both - battleships going dead in the water in the middle of the lake. A rookies' paradise! Brian busily set to pecking away at the Wisconsin, with mild results, while I attempted to get my guns to fire on the Nagato. I started with my bow gun, lining it up, firing, and hoping to hear the crack of balsa on hull skin, or at least some penetrable superstructure. But what's that? The gun fires, but I don't hear anything. Some expert analysis and coaching at lakeside revealed that my rounds were landing somewhere near the opposite shore - about fifty feet away. Thus, the bow gun was emptied, without result. Then, it was time to sail around the Nagato, and try lining up the stern gun. What's that again? Seems that the stern gun was spurting, and landing about a foot from the stern. One nice looking spurt landed about 6" from the Nagato's stern, but what with rookie reflexes and a balky gun, about the time I actually got lined up, it was empty. Thus, my very first combat sortie ended with no damage given, and (I think) no damage received. Bummer! (And you rookies these days think you have humble beginnings!)

First lesson learned: Guns should be mounted very, very securely so that they don't wiggle around during battle and end up shooting your bow deck, or landing 6" from the stern. And enough clearance should be given around the stern gun, so that the hose doesn't get pinched when you put the deck on. Oops.

After the Veterans got another sortie in, the second sortie began with both battleships absent, and the two cruisers alone on the lake. Uh-oh - and the Schneiderlet had working guns. Needless to say, I was feeling a bit nervous. Luckily, Brian's seamanship was about as poor as mine, especially since I ran out of gas and had to call five and run for it. Needless to say, my first battle did not result in an Allied victory. However, I did survive, and I considered that a good start. I also learned another lesson: be aware of how much gas you have, and be sure you have enough before putting the ship on the water. Beware of leaks, too!

Tuesday's battle was a three-way affair, with myself and Brian being joined by Jeff Lide, who was borrowing Tom Jass's spare HMS Shropshire, as his Yamato was looking like a maintenance nightmare (it didn't work). This battle also went two sorties, and was fairly exciting, as Brian and I were both getting the hang of maneuvering, and firing, and our ships were both working a little better. We were both also getting a kick out of shooting at the large target area offered by the Shropshire. However, our pleasure was interrupted slightly, as Brian gave me my first damaging ram. Luckily, it was only a small crease, and Martin Schneider was gracious enough to show me how to patch it at lakeside with a little silkspan and Ambroid. It was with great thanks that the battle continued, and we pursued a little more (mostly) harmless rookie fun. Surprisingly, once the scores were totalled and split up, Brian's ram penalty left me the winner of my second R/C Combat battle. Not exactly the preferred method of winning, but I was happy nonetheless.

Wednesday was a different matter, however. I had brought two different battery packs with me to Nats, and I elected to use the other one on Wednesday. Unfortunately, one of the cells in the pack had been shorted briefly, and was no longer charging properly. This battle also saw Chris Anders join us with his DKM Lutzow, and Eric Noble with his HMS Exeter. However, this was meaningless to me as my Salt Lake City got slower and slower, while Brian put several holes into (and through) my ship. Another lesson learned: internal armor is a very good thing! As the second sortie began, I discovered that I had a choice available to me: I could move, or I could pump. Hmm. Well, in the end, neither option did me any good, as my Salt Lake City found the bottom for the first time. The Axis won this battle, of course, and I resolved not to use the bad batteries in the future. As another interesting note, Wednesday night, I was more formally introduced to Carl Camurati, who sold me a most excellent singleshot interrupter to put on my stern gun and eliminate my spurting problems. I was up rather late installing this goodie, but I looked forward to having a good stern gun on Thursday.

Thursday's battle saw the introduction of yet another new battler, Scott Uttech, with his USS Salt Lake City (Another one?). This battle saw the three of us Allies pitted against the two Axis, and it was a much more interesting affair (for me) than the previous battles. I had guns! Yay! And so, in the second sortie, when Chris Ander's Lutzow ran aground on an island, I was able to back in with my new and improved stern gun and pepper him with hits, including a couple of belows which sealed his fate as his pump didn't work, and he slid off the shelf and into a watery grave. Needless to say, I was ecstatic, and if I wasn't hooked before, I was now! The Shropshire also sank, but excess damage on the Lutzow, and ram penalties against the Axis resulted in an Allied victory.

Thus, we rookies approached Friday's battle with the war in the balance. The Allies and Axis were very close, much like the Allied and Axis veterans were also close, as the Axis veterans had been chipping away at the lead the Allies had amassed on Monday. We went into battle, and in the first sortie, Chris Anders' Lutzow went dead in the water next to shore, and the three of us Allies approached in a line and each made strafing runs on his helpless ship with our bow guns. I saw a splash and thought I got a good hit on him, but no doubt the other two Allies also believe it was their shot that did the deed, but either way, the Lutzow again settled to the bottom, this time with one below the waterline hit. I lubed my ship up for the second sortie, and as we continued the battle, it was my turn to become the cripple as my cheesy model railroad universals (!) began to slip on my prop shafts, and I lost a lot of thrust. I ended up dead in the water in nearly the same location that the Lutzow was in the first sortie, as Brian's Scheer exacted revenge. Luckily for me, though, his shots were high, and mostly in the superstructure, and I survived the sortie, as the Allied rookies won their little Nats war. Unfortunately, the Allied veterans didn't fare so well, losing the 1985 Nats, by 975 points. However, that was of no moment to us Allied rookies, as we'd won our battle. And I learned another valuable lesson: Use quality components in the drive system!

So it was that on Friday night, I was rather surprised and very, very pleased to be awarded the Rookie of the Year trophy for 1985. While my ship wasn't always as effective as the Scheer, the fact that I had built it myself, and done a very nice job of it accrued in my favor. And so it was that thanks to a lot of good tape talking with Tom Jass, and some good advice from Dan Hamilton and others at a regionals in Decatur, I finished my first ship and won Rookie of the Year.

But the story doesn't finish there - Back in those days, the true maniacs went back to the lake on Saturday, and got in some more battling. So it was that I found myself battling one-on-one against Eric Noble's Exeter, and learning yet another valuable lesson: don't tweak your guns too hard! This I did, and as a result, when my propellant cooled down, they stopped firing, and Eric beat me by about 45 to 20, or something awful like that. Ah, the good old days!

I spent my first winter in college at Michigan Tech University, with my trusty ship there to keep me busy during the dark and cold winter. I replaced the guns with new ones which were mounted more securely, and built better, built a new pump, a new watertight box, completely rewired the boat, and installed a new turning system. 1986 was going to be the first year with the new speeed rules, and rumor was that turning systems were going to be the rage. I also heard that the new "secret" rubber hull technology was going to be big, so I applied some silicone goop to the inside of my hull, so that I could keep up with the Camurati's. And I'm sure I also did a lot of other silly stuff that I don't remember, but what do you expect of a college kid?

I arrived at the 1986 Nats with my Salt Lake City thoroughly reworked with new (and much more effective) systems. And with rotten batteries. Oops. Luckily, James Foster had some spares that he loaned me for the week - what a guy! This year, we only had one rookie, Curly Barrett, but due to continuing frequency problems we decided to go with an "A/B" fleet system with the "B" fleet being the "less experienced" battlers. Again, I had no real complaints.

This time, we actually got in two fleet battles per day, and so it was that in Monday's first battle, Jeff Lide's Yamato sailed with Curly's Lutzow and Brian Schneider's Scheer, against Jeff West's Wisconsin, Danny Schultz's Colorado, and my Salt Lake City. Most attention was paid to the large ships, and I got a kick out of shooting at the large and hard to miss (?) Yamato with my faster and much more maneuverable little cruiser. Damage was light, as our gunnery was poor, but we Allies won the first sortie by about three hundred points. However, the second sortie featured a ram by Danny's Colorado in the Yamato's side, and there went the lead. I sailed in front of the Yamato's triple bow guns and got a funnel blown over the side. It was attached by a string to act as a float, and promptly stood up behind the ship like a water skier. By this time, I was really enjoying shooting at the Yamato, and continued to chase her to the far end of the lake, where it appeared that a shot from my bow gun caused her to go dead in the water. Unfortunately, as I pulled around the other side and backed in for stern shots, the string got caught in my props, and I was dead in the water and unable to take advantage of the crippled Jap ship. However, the Wisconsin got a few shots in, and somehow the Allies pulled out a small victory.

Monday's second fleet battle saw less damage, and less excitement, as the Allies won by 200 points, but with about half the damage of the previous battle. I suspect that I was still busy pecking away at the Yamato, with (obviously) marginal effect.

Tuesday's first battle saw Gerald's Nagato added to the Axis fleet, and the two Pensacola class cruisers of Wayne Stevenson and Scott Uttech added to the Allied B fleet. This battle featured several rams (fortunately not involving me), one of which resulted in the Yamato being out for a while patching, as I wasted my ammunition on Gerald's Nagato, shooting superstructure and casements, no doubt. The second sortie began with the Allies having a ram penalty deficit, and while I was busy having fun with my favorite Yamato again, Brian got some good shots into the Wisconsin, and the Nagato got a good sidemount into the big ship, sealing her fate as she sank shortly thereafter. Oh, well, so much for that 350 point lead.

Tuesday's second battle was Wisconsin-less, and Curly's Lutzow was designated Allied for some odd reason, like lack of Allied ships. Either way, the pursuit of the Yamato continued, and the Allies (ahem) won a small victory, but it was small taters compared to the earlier sink of the Wisconsin. And as an added bonus, it was decided that for the rest of the week, we would be mixed in with the veteran battlers. Lions and tigers and bears, oh, my!

Thursday dawned late after night battle, and battling started in the afternoon with the very first Campaign battle. I had been pestering Tom about the idea over the winter, and together we had cooked up some rules, and here we were about to try them. If I had realized then what a monster this little wargame was to become, I would have tried to kill it immediately, but, well, it seemed like a good idea at the time!

Anyways. Campaign began, and the Axis launched a small "convoy" ship, and I, being the industrious Ally that I was, ventured over to attack it. Thus began a little game where I would take a couple of potshots at the convoy ship, and when the Axis battleships descended on me, I would sail in a fairly large circle, and come back to the convoy ship and take another few potshots at it. One pass was especially nice, as I got the stern gun lined up and fired three shots and saw three splashes, right at the bow of the little ship. Howver, it was to no avail as the convoy ship survived. I, on the other hand, was merrily doing yet another circle when Brian's Scheer wandered in front of my cruiser and got ram sunk. Oops. I was pleased when I pulled my ship out that I had no bb damage, but I think the veterans were probably just taking it easy on me. The convoy ship, on the other hand, had three very nice belows in its bow. Yay! Now, if I could only do that in fleet battle! After a while, I got to go back out, and actually took some damage from some of the nasty Axis battleships, and managed to frighten one of the vets when I turned my pump on. Seems they weren't used to seeing a cruiser throw that much water through the air. Anyways, I survived the battle, and had a good time, while the Axis swept on to victory in the first Campaign battle ever.

That left Friday as the last day of Nats, and one more fleet battle to get my little cruiser in with the big boys. In this case, the big boys included James Foster with his mean and nasty Vittorio Veneto. James paid me back for the loan of the batteries by putting several holes in the Salt Lake City, and also paid me a lesson as I shot at him with my stern gun, and he commented, "Superstructure." It was then that I realized that X turret was definitely not a good place for a stern gun, as it was so high that it was easy to miss and shoot too high. Oh, well. I was also revisited by the plague of the model train universals which I had foolishly tried to use again. Fortunately, the SLC survived the battle, and that night, I made a set of homemade universals out of brass tubing and piano wire, for the expected Saturday insanity.

Saturday was more enjoyable than usual, as the new universals meant that my ship was working better than it ever had before.

My first battle on Saturday was a small fleet battle with myself, Steve Milholland, and Terry Darby against Gerald Roberts, Fluegel, and Dirty, I think. Both fleets had a battleship and two cruisers - Alabama, Portland and Salt Lake City vs. Nagato, Lutzow, and Myoko. I was giddy with the newfound performance of my ship, and I zipped around and turned circles that were nearly as tight as the Alabama's. I even managed to shoot the enemy somewhat. I have no idea anymore who won, but it was a good, fun battle with plenty of amusement for all. I even got to use my cruiser's powerful turning motors to out-muscle Fluegel's Lutzow in a tugboat contest. What fun!

My final battle of 1986 was rather interesting in that Steve Milholland and I swapped ships and had a one-on-one battle. I got a taste of big ship battling, as I enjoyed sidemounting my cruiser, and I think Steve enjoyed his taste of cruiser battling (He hadn't built a cruiser yet.) Either way, sidemounts and inexperience prevailed over experience with a semi-reliable cruiser, and I left Nats with the resolve (but not the resources) to build a battleship.

1988 Fall Northeast Regionals

The next two years, 1987 and 1988 found me busy with college, and co-op jobs, as I attempted (successfully) to pay for my education. However, in 1988, my co-op job left me in Owego, NY, with the possibility of heading down to Maryland for their Fall regionals. Since my USS Michigan was experiencing construction difficulties, I got busy on a refit of the ol' Salt Lake City. She was in pretty rough shape, as the cheap plywood was showing its age, and the systems were the same junk that was in it in 1986.

I started work by installing a new and improved propellant tank, and remotoring with Dumas 4.8V motors and new and spiffy Exact Miniatures props. No more cheesy plastic props and universals for me! I also built new and improved guns, and located the new stern gun in Y turret. Unfortunately, I hadn't finished rebuilding the superstructure before the battle, but the folks in Maryland were kind enough to let me battle with what I had.

So it was that I showed up for the Fall 1988 Northeast regionals.

Due to the curious (at the time) lack of Axis at the battle, the sides were US vs. the World, with Bob Amend's QE, Marty's Invincible, and Rick Schultz's Capitani Romani as the World, and the US consisting of myself, Will Montgomery with his USS Salt Lake City (another one?), and John French's USS Northampton. Other US battleships were around, but unable to battle.

The first sortie began with some excitement as after a few minutes, my cruiser went out of control and proceeded to beach itself on an island with most of it's hull showing. Seems it was a little quick, too. Anyways, Bob showed up and proceeded to sidemount, and soon my cruiser was sunk. However, while this was going on, Will was busy peppering the QE with dual stern guns, and Marty also had control problems. Thus, after being allowed to patch and rejoin the battle for the second sortie (and doing a little impromptu rewiring), the second sortie began with my ship working much better. During the second sortie, Bob sank from all his damage, and we cruisers spent the rest of the sortie chasing Rick's cruiser around. Somehow, the US fleet won the battle.

The second fleet battle started with yet another mishap - my newly wired in receiver pack immediately went dead, and my ship beached itself at my feet. Not feeling quite so foolish this time, I heard Rick muttering about "paybacks", and Bob was coming in to attack, so I declared it sunk. And began removing the wiring I'd added to isolate the receiver from the main power circuit. The other two Allies were having trouble, as Marty's ship was working better, and three on two is tough when the two are cruisers and are facing two battleships and a cruiser. Again, I was allowed into the second sortie, much like a moth to a candle. Steve Andrews with his new California joined in this sortie, too, and John French withdrew because of rudder difficulties. This time, my ship ran well, up until Marty (who launched late) put his ship in the water. Then, my cruiser immediately went out of control and beached, and sank again. Hmm. Maybe the problem wasn't my wiring after all. Steve also had problems and declared sunk, and so the World fleet had gained a significant lead.

Fortunately, Will had a spare radio and let me borrow it for Sunday, and life was so, so much better! Sunday's battle began with a bang as I put several rounds into Marty's Invincible, and after battling a bit, managed to get mossed. After taking some damage (and being able to finally turn the pump on - yay!), the battle continued, and Marty's Invincible manged to take a lot of damage too. The second sortie began with Bob forgetting to turn his pump on and nearly sinking. Marty, on the other hand, actually did sink. Bob's turn came soon, as the US cruiser fired round after round into his hull until the QE joined the Invincible at the bottom of the pond. This battle, the US fleet had turned its fortunes around and won a victory.

My last battle for the weekend was a three way "Texas Death Match" between myself, Rick Schultz, and Danny Schultz, with his Maryland. We would battle until only one ship was left afloat, and (generously) battery changes were allowed for the cruisers. The battle began with all three ships jockeying for position and shooting each other up. Danny was the target of choice, as he was the hardest to miss. We soon ran out of ammo, and after a brief refit began the second, and third sorties. The madness continued, as Danny's ship went out of control and began circling. It was cruiser heaven, and I tried to make the most of my ammo, as Rick tormented both of us. However, Rick was the first victim as he decided to drop out due to an inoperative gun. That left Danny and I alone for the fourth sortie. The sortie started out with me really worried, as my unscreened pump sucked in a bit of silicone which partially blocked the outlet. However, Iwas game, and the battle continued. Danny and I fought it out, and my guns were working better than they had yet that weekend, as the Maryland began to lose its battle with the incoming water. It wasn't too long later that the Maryland slipped under the waves, and I was the rather surprised victor.

I had a good time at this, my first regionals, and resolved to return in 1989, hopefully with the Salt Lake City's refit completed, and a spiffy new superstructure. Unfortunately, this was not to be, as the soaking of the weekend conspired with the lousy plywood to result in a rotted, ruined hull. Over the winter, the systems were salvaged from the Salt Lake City, and her tired hull was laid to rest in the local landfill. Her combat career was over, and in 1989, I would have to put another ship on the water, if I wanted to battle.

My final verdict on the Salt Lake City was that it was a great ship to learn with, and despite its problems, it gave me more years of good service than I really deserved. Indeed, when I finally got her working well, she turned out to be quite a formidable ship. I sometimes wish that I hadn't trashed her hull, as with today's Zombie Elixir, the poor old ship could probably have been resurrected. Unfortunately, that's not the case, though, and if I want to relive the nostalgic experience, I'll have to build a new hull. Fortunately for me, I still have her old turrets, and many other pieces, so that when I finally do build another one, I'll always have a bit of the ol' SLC with me.

Watch the video: USS Salt Lake City CA-25 (January 2022).