USS Phoenix (CL-46) Light Cruiser
The USS Phoenix survived the rigors of World War 2 under the flag of the USN only to meet her demise in the Falklands Conflict under the banner of the Argentine Navy,
Authored By JR Potts, AUS 173d AB; Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com
USS Phoenix (CL-46), was number five of seven built of the Brooklyn-class light cruisers and was commissioned on 10/03/1938. All served in World War II and were armed with five 6 inch gun turrets, three forward and two aft. The Brooklyn Class was developed from the conditions of the London Treaty of 1930 that limited the size of warships to 10,000 tons after World War I. In this case heavy cruisers and gun sizes over 6 inches were not allowed. The US Navy was concerned about the restrictions but found the Brooklyn class was equal to the new Japanese Mogami class cruiser launched with fifteen 6 inch guns. A number of gun sizes were used to satisfy the treaty, the main armament was the 6 inch 47 caliber guns mounted (5x3) the new MK 16 that fired a 130 lb shell 14.5 miles or 26,100 yds (23,900 m). Eight 5 inch 54 caliber (127 mm) guns in mounts (8x1) used for close in shore bombardment and anti aircraft protection. For additional anti-aircraft protection were twenty 20 mm (10x2) mounts and twenty eight 40 mm (4x4 & 6x2) mounts were preferred. The class proved to fit the role needed for the light cruiser duty including convoy protection, and shore bombardment. The majority of cruisers built in WWII were similar to this successful Brooklyn design.
During the pre war years USS Phoenix patrolled the United States West coast and was later based in Pearl Harbor in 1941. On December 7, 1941 she was anchored next to the hospital ship Solace southeast of Ford Island. Phoenix was not a primary target of the attack, Japanese planes were focused on Battleship row, so as the planes flew by the crew of the Phoenix opened fire. Phoenix like the mythical bird she was named after rose from the ashes and by noon was underway. She was ordered out of the harbor to join the small task force of ships who escaped from Pearl who unsuccessfully searched for the enemy fleet. After some convoy duty between Pearl Harbor and the main land she departed for Australian waters with a force of ships. For some time she escorted troop ships and provided convey protection, her main sailing was in and around Australian waters. In February 1942 Phoenix was sailing towards Ceylon in convoy duty with the USS Langley a seaplane tender and the HMS Sea witch. The three ships were ordered to change course towards Java at top speed due to the Japanese invasion in the East Indies. Langley was sunk by IJN planes but Phoenix and Sea witch survived.