Sunday, March 16, 2014


     From the moment when it was light enough to launch planes, until all enemy resistance ceased, the carrier-based aircraft of the Navy showed the utmost fight and aggressiveness.  U.S.S. Ranger, the one big carrier in Task Force 34, took station some thirty miles northwest of Casablanca and began shoving 'em off at 0615 when it was still quite dark.  Nine Wildcats of her fighter Squadron 9 (Lieutenant Commander John Raby) received their "Batter Up!" from anti-aircraft fire when over the Rabat and Rabat-Sale airdromes, headquarters of the French air forces in Morocco.  Without loss to themselves, they destroyed seven grounded planes on the one field, and fourteen bombers on the other.  Four planes in their second flight, which took off at 0845, shot down an enemy plane.  In their third flight that day they destroyed seven enemy Dewoitine 520s fueling on the Port Lyautey field, but lost one plane with Ensign T.M. Wilhoite.  The fourth flight, taking off at 1145, found no enemy to the eastward.  The fifth, departing at 1300, strafed shore batteries; on the sixth, which began at 1515, four planes strafed four French destroyers while five planes strafed and bombed an anti-aircraft battery near Casablanca.
     Fighter Squadron 41, taking off from Ranger at 0700, made straight for Les Cazes airfield near Casablanca, which it found to be patrolled by ten Dewoitine 520s and six Curtis 75-As.  In the ensuing dogfight three of the former and five of the latter were shot down, and fourteen planes were destroyed on the ground.  Four Wildcats failed to return.  Later in the day the same squadron made several more flights, destroyed grounded planes on airdromes, and strafed the French destroyers (effectively their officers admitted) when they first sortied from Casablanca.
     Ranger's SBD squadron, consisting of eighteen Dauntless dive-bombers, was orbiting 10,000 feet in the air over Casablanca by 0700, waiting for the "Play Ball!" With the Jean Bart and anti-aircraft batteries on the harbor jetties throwing up everything they had, these planes bombed the submarine basin in the inner harbor, as well as various installations.  They were recovered in time for a brief rest before being sent out again to stop the cruiser Primauguet when she sortied at 1000.
     Suwannee, in the meantime, commanded by that famous Cherokee Indian Captain "Jock" Clark, maintained combat and anti-submarine air patrol for the Center Group.  Her only trouble was the prevalent light wind on D-day.  Frequently she had to seek areas where ruffled water indicated a better breeze.  Most of her planes were recovered with only a 22-knot wind over the deck, which would have precluded flight operations in time of peace.  Her Avengers joined those of Ranger in bombing missions.
     These are typical examples of the unremitting activity of the NAvy carrier-based planes.  There were probably 168 French planes available in Morocco on the date of our arrival; 172 of ours were brought in by the four carriers.  These shot down about 20 enemy planes in the air, and destroyed a considerable number on the ground.  Prompt and effective aggressiveness of the NAval arm, combined with the fact that a considerable part of the French air force welcomed the landing, made this aspect of the Battle of Casablanca rather one-sided.
     Air protection to the landing forces was far form complete; it never can be.  At least five times on 8 November French fighter planes flew over the Fedhala beaches and strafed our troops; and, on the ninth, high-level bombers made fruitless passes at ships and beaches.  Yet, on the whole, the air opposition was very well taken care of.  No enemy aircraft interfered with spotting planes form battleships and cruisers, and no air bombs hit the transports.  The value of aircraft to protect amphibious operations was conclusively demonstrated; and it was immensely heartening to the Army to see our own planes overhead instead of those with enemy markings.  Moreover, in addition to destroying and driving off enemy planes, the naval aviators delivered effective strafing and bombing attacks on French warships and shore batteries in the naval combats of 8 and 10 November.
     The Naval Battle of Casablanca was an old-fashioned fire-away-Flannagan between warships, with a few torpedo attacks by the enemy, and air attacks by us, thrown in.  Lasting form Dawn almost until late afternoon 8 November, it developed out of an action that commenced before sunrise between French batteries in Casablanca Harbor and airplanes of Rear Admiral "Ike" Giffen's Covering Group.
     This group consisted of battleship Massachusetts on her shakedown cruise, heavy cruisers Tuscaloosa and Wichita, screened by destroyers of Captain Don P. Moon's Squadron 8, Wainwright, Mayrant, Rhind, and Jenkins.  Their missions, besides covering the entire Task Force against a possible sortie by the formidable French ships in Dakar, was to contain the enemy vessels in Casablanca Harbor, destroy them if and when they showed fight, and neutralize shore batteries in or near Casablanca.
     During the approach on 7 November the Covering Group steamed on a course about ten miles southwest of the Center Attack Group, in the general direction of Casablanca.  Naval tradition, since time immemorial, requires the "skipper" to make a speech to his men before going into battle; nowadays it is done over the ship's loudspeaker system instead of by straight voice or speaking trumpet.  Accordingly at 1415, 7, November, this message from Admiral Giffen was repeated by the commanding officer of each ship.--

The time has now come to prove ourselves worthy of the trust placed in u by our Nation.  If circumstances force us to fire upon the French, once our victorious ally, let it be done with the firm conviction that we are striking not at the French people, but at the men who prefer Hitler's slavery to freedom.  If we fight, hit hard and break clean.  There is glory enough for us all.  Good luck.  Go with God.
To which Captain Whiting of the Massachusetts added: --
We commissioned the Massachusetts only six months ago; never have I seen a more responsive and hard-working ship's company than this one.  You have met every demand I have made.  We have the finest ship's spirit possible.  We are ready.  If it becomes our duty  to open fire tomorrow, never forget the motto of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts whose name we proudly bear.  That motto is:  Ense Petit Placidam Sub Libertate Quietem, With the Sword She Seeks Peace under Liberty.  If we wield the sword, do so with all the strength in this mighty ship to destroy quickly and completely.
     At 2215 7 November Admiral Giffen's group turned away to the Southwestward, and during the night steamed over a trapezoidal course whose base ran parallel to the coastline, about twenty-one miles off shore. After completing the last corner of the trapezoid at 0515 8 November, the big ships continued on a 168˚ course to the eighteen-fathom shoal bearing 14 miles NW by N from El HAank Light, turned westerly and at 0610 proceeded to catapult nine planes for spotting and anti-submarine patrol.  The shore batteries at Fedhala were already opening fire, but Admiral Giffen was too far away to hear the report.  He caught Admiral Hewitt's "Play Ball in Center"  over the wireless telephone at 0626, but this did not apply to the Covering Group.
     Catapulting planes from a cruiser or battleship in early morning twilight is one of the finest sights in the modern Navy.  The plane, poised on the catapult, snorts blue fire from its twin exhausts.  THe ship maneuvers so that the plane will shoot into the wind.  Flag signals are made from the bridge and rhythmic arm signals from the plane dispatcher on the fantail.  A nod from the pilot, and the plane rushes headlong down the catapult like some hagridden diver going overboard.  Just as it leaves the skids, a loud crack of the explosive charge is heard.  The plane falls a few yards towards the water, then straightens out and flies off and away.
     Immediately after launching their planes the Massachusetts, Wichita and Tuscaloosa ran up battle ensigns, bent on twenty-five knots, and assumed battle formation.  The four destroyers steamed in a half-moon about 3000 yards ahead of the flagship, which was followed in column by the two cruisers at 1000-yard intervals, their "long, slim 8-inch guns projecting in threes from the turrets, like rigid fingers of death pointing to the object of their wrath with inexorable certainty."  At 0640, when the formation had reached a position bearing about west northwest from Casablanca, distant 18,000 yards from Batterie El Hank and 20,000 yards from battleship Jean Bart's berth in the harbor, it began an easterly run, holding the same range.  Ten minutes later, one of the flagship's spotting planes reported two submarines standing out of Casablanca HArbor, and at 0651 radioed: "There's an anti-aircraft battery opening up on me from beach.  One burst came within twelve feet.  Batter up!"  Another spotting plane encountered "bandits" at 0652 and signaled: "Am coming in on starboard bow with couple hostile aircraft on my tail.  Pick 'em off--I am the one in front!"  The big ships opened up on these planes with their 5-inch batteries at 0701, and shot one down.  The other retired; and almost simultaneously battleship Jean Bart and El Hank commenced firing.  The coastal defense guns straddled Massachusetts with their first salvo, and five or six splashes from Jean Bart fell about 600 yards ahead of her starboard bow.  Admiral Giffen lost no time in giving his group the "Play Ball!"  Massachusetts let go her first 16-inch salvo at 0704.  Actually Jean Bart was shooting at the cruisers astern; she never saw, or at least never recognized, Massachusetts during the action; so our mighty battlewagon making her fighting debut was reported to the Germans via Vichy as a "pocket battleship."
     Jean Bart, the newest battleship of the French Navy, almost 800 feet long and of about the same tonnage as Massachusetts, had never been completed.  Although unable to move from her berth alongside the Mole du Commerce in Casablanca, her four 15-inch guns in the forward turret and her modern range-finding equipment made her a formidable shore battery.  On El Hank promontory, just west of the harbor, was a battery of four 194-mm (approximately 8-inch) coast defense guns and another of four 138-mm guns facing easterly.  On the other side of the harbor toward Fedhala, at a place called Table d'Aoukasha, was a somewhat antiquated coast defense battery.  We had assumed that the approaches would be mined, but no mines had been laid.  The sea approaches to Casablanca were, however, nicely covered by gunfire.
     For several minutes Massachusetts and Tuscaloosa concentrated on Jean Bart, commencing fire at a range of 24,000 yards and opening out to 29,000.  Wichita opened fire on El Hank at 0706 at a range of 21,800 yards, using her own plane spot.  Massachusetts fired nine 16 inch salvos of six to nine shots each at Jean Bart, and made five hits.  One penetrated an empty magazine.  A second penetrated below the after control station, completely wrecking it, and the nose made a large hole below the waterline.  The third and fourth did not meet sufficient resistance to detonate an armor piercing shell.  The fifth, at about 0720, hit the forward turret (then firing at the Massachusetts), ricocheted against the top of the barbette, and then into the city, where it was recovered and set up as a trophy at the French Admiralty building.  The impact of this shell on the barbette jammed the turret in train, silencing Jean Bart's entire main battery for about sight hours.  Thus, one of the primary defenses of Casablanca, whose guns at extreme elevation might have been able to reach the transport area off Fedhala, was eliminated in sixteen minutes.
     Throughout this action, heavy stuff was whizzing over Massachusetts and splashing in the water close aboard.  Admiral Giffen and Captain Whiting disdained the protection of the armorcased conning tower, and directed battle from the open flying bridge.  The Admiral once remarked, as an enemy salvo passed overhead, "If one lands at my feet, I'll be the first to line up to make a date with Helen of Troy!"
     Tuscaloosa concentrated on the submarine berthing area in Casablanca, then shifted to the Table d'Aoukasha shore battery, while Wichita, having fired twenty-five 9-gun salvos at El Hank, and silenced it temporarily, took over the submarine area in the harbor at 0727.  THe range was then 27,000 yards.  At 0746 the Covering Group changed course to 270˚ and commenced a westerly run past the targets, firing on El Hank, Table d'Aoukasha, and ships in the harbor.  This action was broken off at 0835 in consequence of a telephone message relayed from the Army ashore, "For Christ's sake quit firing--you are killing our own troops," and "This is from Army--you are killing townspeople, no opposition ashore."  Subsequent investigation proved that these casualties were caused by the Batterie du Port, Cape Fedhala, when firing on our troops at the upper edge of Beach Red 2.
     Up to that time, the only certain damage inflicted by either side was on the Jean Bart.  The French scored no hits on the Covering Group, although they made several straddles and near misses, and one shell passed through the flagship's commissioning pennant.  Around 0745 bombing planes' and warships' projectiles sank three merchantmen in Casablanca and also three submarines, Oreade, La Psyche and Amphitrite.  Anyway, somebody sank them at anchor.  Yet, in spite of all the efforts by COvering Group and carrier planes, eight submarines sortied successfully between 0710 and 0830, and some of them were shortly to be heard from.  The shore battery at Table d'Aoukasha--whose gun were described by a French officer as "tout ce qu'il y a du plus vieux"(Everything that has the oldest?)--was silenced only temporarily, and the modern El Hank battery remained completely operational.
     The Covering Group has become so interested in pounding Jean Bart and El Hank that its mission of containing the enemy ships in Casablanca Harbor was neglected.  At 0833, when they checked fire, Massachusetts, Tuscaloosa and Wichita had reached a point about sixteen miles northwest of the harbor entrance, and twenty-five miles from our ships engaged in unloading troops at Fedhala.  Admiral Michelier, anticipating that this westward run would place the big ships at a safe distance, ordered the destroyer squadrons under his command to sortie from Casablanca and sneak along the coast to break up the landing operations at Fedhala.  This was his one desperate chance of defeating the "invasion."
     Beginning at 0815, the following French ships sortied from Casablanca:--
Destroyer Leaders of 2500 tons, 423 feet long, five 5 1/2-inch guns, four torpedo tubes, 36 knots
 MILAN                          Capitane de Fregate Costet
ALBATROS                  Capitaine de Fregate Peries 
Destroyers of 1400 tons, 331 feet long, four 5.1-inch guns, six torpedo tubes, 36 knots
L'ALCYON                    Capitane de Corvette de Bragelongue
BRESTOIS                     Capitane de Fregate Mariani
BOULONNAIS             Capitane de Corvette de Prensuf
FOUGUEUX                  Capitane de Fregate Sticca
FRONDEUR                  Capitane de Corvette Begouen-Demeaux
     This force was under the command of Contre-Amiral Gervais de Lafond in Milan.  Light cruiser Primauguet sortied last, at 0900.  Admiral Lafond later informed Admiral Hewitt that when the first sortie commenced he was still ignorant of the nationality of the ships he had been ordered to fight.  Other officers later confirmed this surprising fact.
     Spotting planes reported the sortie to our Center Attack Group as early as 0818.  There then began an anxious twenty minutes for the transports.  Wildcats and Dauntless dive-bombers from Ranger strafed and bombed the ships, but they continued on their course, and knocked one of the bombers down; its entire crew was lost.  Fedhala is only twelve miles by sea from Casablanca, not much to cover for destroyers capable of thirty-six knots; and the transports at that moment were so many sitting sucks for a torpedo attack, or gunfire for that matter.  At 0828 the French destroyers began shelling landing boats that were seeking Beach Yellow west of Cape Fedhala, making a direct hit on one, and also firing on Wilkes and Ludlow, who were patrolling a few miles to the westward of the Cape.  Ludlow delivered a salvo that started a fire on the Milan, then retired at flank speed, and at 0834 was hit by a shell which entered the wardroom country and exploded on the main deck, starting fires which took her out of action for three hours.  Splashes and straddles followed her out to 24,000 yards range, and Wilkes too fell back on the cruisers.  The French sailors must have believed that they had us on the run.
     Admiral Hewitt now ordered Augusta, Brooklyn, Wilkes and Swanson to intercept the French force.  Anxiety on board the transports was dispelled by what one of their officers pronounced to be "the most beautiful sight he ever saw."  The four ships went tearing into action like a pack of dogs unleashed: Wilkes and Swanson with their main batteries yap-yapping, dancing ahead like two fox terriers, followed by the queenly Augusta with a high white wave-curl against her clipper bow, her 8-inch guns booming a deep "woof-woof"; and finally the stolid, scrappy Brooklyn, giving tongue with her six-inchers like ten couple of staghounds, and footing so fast that she had to make a 300-degree turn to take station astern of her senior.  At 0848, when the enemy was not more than four miles from our transports, action opened at 18,500 yards, rapidly closing to 17,600; French shells came uncomfortably close but failed to hit; at about 0900 range was opened by the enemy retiring toward Casablanca, to draw us under the coastal batteries.
     Admiral Hewitt at nine o'clock ordered Giffen to close and take care of the French ships.  The Covering Group came in at 27 knots, and at 0918 opened fire at 19,400 yards, closing to 11,500.  Augusta and Brooklyn broke off and returned to guard the transports, while the fire support destroyers engaged the Batterie du Port on Cape Fedhala, which had reopened fire, and quickly silenced it for the third time.  In meantime the French destroyers sent up a heavy smoke screen and followed the excellent defensive tactics of charging out of it to take a crack at their formidable enemy, then in again to throw off the spot planes and range finders.  "Our enemy deserves much credit," reported the gunnery officer of Tuscaloosa, "for superb seamanship which permitted him to maintain a continuous volume of fire from his light forces while exposing them only momentarily.  One well-managed stratagem observed was the laying of smoke by a destroyer on the unengaged bow of the enemy cruiser, which effectively obscured our 'overs' "
     These French destroyers did indeed put up a fight that commanded the admiration of all.  The Covering Group was unable to polish them off; hurling 8-inch and 16-inch ammunition at these nimble footed light craft was a bit like trying to hit a grasshopper with a rock.  At 0935 Giffen changed course to 280˚ "because of restricted waters," and began another run to the westward, exchanging shots with the French destroyers and El Hank.
     The minutes around 1000 were the hottest part of this action.  Several things happened almost simultaneously .  The beautiful French light cruiser Primauguet (7300 tons, 600 feet long, eight 6-inch guns and twelve torpedo tubes) sortied to assist the destroyers, two of which peeled off from the smoke screen group  and headed north to deliver a torpedo attack on the Covering Group.  Massachusetts, at a range of about 11 miles, and Tuscaloosa, at a little less, landed a couple of salvos on the van destroyer Fougueux.  She blew up and sank in lat. 33˚42' N., long. 7˚37' W., about 6 1/2 miles north of Casablanca breakwater.  About the same moment a shell from El Hank hit the flagship's main deck forward and exploded below, injuring nobody.  Within three minutes Massachusetts sighted four torpedo wakes about 60 degrees on her port bow, distant under one thousand yards.  The big battleship was maneuvered between Numbers 3 and 4 of the spread, and just made it; Number 4 passed about fifteen feet away along her starboard side.  Four minutes later four torpedoes, from submarine Meduse, narrowly missed Tuscaloosa; and at 1021 another torpedo wake was sighted, passing 100 yards to port.  The French just missed sweet revenge for their too impetuous Fougueux.
     While the Covering Group was making this run to the westward, sinking ships and dodging torpedoes, three French destroyers began to edge along shore toward the transports.  Our big ships were now well below the horizon, as seen from the transport area, so Admiral Hewitt at 0951 ordered his two cruisers and three destroyers to intercept the enemy.  When the Brooklyn received this order, she was operating in the eastward of the transport area.  Captain Denebrink in his eagerness steered a straight course for fifteen minutes, and just managed at 1010, by a timely 90-degree turn, to dodge five torpedoes from the submarine Amazone, fired at a range of about three thousand yards.  Augusta, who was fueling a plane and preparing to set General Patton and staff ashore, catapulted the plane, cut adrift the waiting landing craft and stood over to support Brooklyn, handsome as a bridal bouquet with her guns spouting orange bursts of flame.
     The second morning engagement, which commenced at 1008 when one of the French destroyers opened fire on Brooklyn, became general when Augusta came in at 1020.  On the one side were the two cruisers screened by Wilkes, Swanson, and Bristol; on the other, light cruiser Primauguet, two destroyer leaders, and four destroyers.  Augusta and Brooklyn steered radically evasive courses: ellipses, snake tracks, and figure eights--dodging shells every few seconds, and footing so fast that their screening destroyers with difficulty kept out of the way.  Brooklyn was very impressive, reported an observer in Augusta.  "Her fire consisted of ranging salvos with one or two guns, followed by one or more full salvos, spotted, and then a burst of rapid fire lasting a minute or so."  Her adversary was then steering north-westerly to open the range, so as to give her guns the advantage; at seven and a half to nine miles from the enemy one could see little more than black specks of ships constantly emerging from and submerging in the smoke, and gun flashes snapping out of the screen.  At 1046 Brooklyn received the only hit suffered by either cruiser, a 5-inch dud.
     So intent was Brooklyn upon the task at hand that she forgot about the Covering Group; and when the superstructures of three ships appeared over the horizon to the westward, firing, and large geysers of green water, far higher than anything she had been dodging, shot up off her starboard bow, officers on the bridge thought for a few seconds that the enemy had led us into a trap--that these ships were the Richelieu, Gloire and Montcalm from Dakar.  It turned out that the green splashes were from El Hank, making a few passes at Brooklyn, and that the three ships hull-down were, of course, the Covering Group returning.  Great relief on the bridge!  At about 1035 Massachusetts signaled her re-entry into battle by opening fire on Boulonnais, who, hit by a full salvo from Brooklyn, rolled over and sank at 1112.
     By 1100 Massachusetts had expended approximately 60 per cent of her 16-inch ammunition, and decided that she had better save the balance in case that bad dream, the Richelieu, came true.  Accordingly she pulled out of range with three screening destroyers, while Captain Gillette in Tuscaloosa assumed tactical command of the two heavy cruisers and Rhind, with orders to polish off the enemy fleet.  They closed range to 14,000 yards, closer than our light cruisers were at the time.
     At about 1100, just before the reduced Covering Group swung into action, cruiser Primauguet took a bad beating from Augusta and Brooklyn.  Holed three times below the waterline, and with an 8-inch shell on No. 3 turret, she retired toward the harbor, and anchored off the Roches Noires.  Milan, with five hits, at least three of them 8 inch, followed suit.  Almost at the same moment, destroyer Brestois was hit by Augusta and a destroyer.  She managed to make the harbor jetty.  The planes from Ranger strafed her near the waterline with .50-caliber bullets, but did not hasten her end.  Holed below the waterline, she sank at 2100.
     There were now only three French ships in action outside the harbor, destroyers Frondeur and L'Alcyon, and destroyer leader Albatros.  They formed up about 1115, apparently with the intention of delivering a torpedo attack on the cruisers, but were soon reduced to ineffectual zigzagging behind a smoke screen by the fire of Tuscaloosa and Wichita.  They had good support, however, from El Hank. After a number of straddles and near misses, this shore battery scored one hit on Wichita at 1128, which detonated in a living compartment on the second deck, injuring fourteen men, none of them seriously; the fires were quickly extinguished.  Ten minutes later the same cruiser dodged a spread of three torpedoes from one of the French submarines.  Wichita and Tuscaloosa, however, gave back far more than they got.  Frondeur took a hit aft and limped into port down at the stern; like Brestois, she was finished off by aircraft strafing.  Albatros was hit twice at 1130, once below the waterline forward and once on deck; with only three of her guns functioning she zigzagged behind a smoke screen, shooting at Augusta.  At that moment Ranger's bomber planes flew into action, and laid two eggs amidships.  The fireroom and one engine room were flooded, and the second engine room was presently flooded by another hit from Augusta.  Albatros went dead in the water.
     Immediately after, around 1145 or 1150, action was broken off by reason of two rumors, one false and the other misleading.  News reached Admiral Hewitt from a plane that an enemy cruiser had been sighted southwest of Casablanca, and he ordered Wichita and Tuscaloosa to steam down the coast in search of her.  From one of our communications teams ashore came word "Army officers conferring with French Army officers at Cape Fedhala.  Gunfire must be stopped during this conference."  Such a conference was being held, but Admiral Michelier knew nothing about it, and the senior French officer present, a lieutenant colonel, had no authority to decide anything except to surrender Fedhala, where all resistance had already ceased.
     Out of the eight French which took part in this morning engagement, only one, L'Alcyon, returned to her berth undamaged.  But Admiral Michelier had a few cards still up his sleeve, and proceeded to play them well.
     The eighth of November had developed into a beautiful blue-and-gold autumn day, with bright sunlight overhead, a smooth sea almost unruffled by light offshore wind, and a haze over the land to which smoke from gunfire and smoke screens contributed.  Sea gulls with black-tipped wings were skimming over the water, and so continued throughout the action apparently unconcerned by these strange antics of the human race.
     At 1245 Brooklyn and Augusta were patrolling around the transports; and their crews, who had been at battle stations for twelve hours, were trying to grab a little cold lunch.  General Patton at last had managed to get ashore from the flagship.  Admiral Michelier chose this opportune moment, when the Covering Group was chasing a ghost cruiser westward, to order a third sortie from Casablanca, led by a aviso-colonial named La Grandiere.  At a distance she resembled a light cruiser.  She was followed by two small avisos-draguerurs (coast-patrol minesweepers) of 630 tons, armed with 3.9 inch anti-aircraft guns called La Gracieue and Commandant Delage.  The three vessels steamed along the coast as if headed for the transports.  The French, as ascertained later, were simply trying to pick up survivors from the sunken destroyers, but their course then looked aggressive.  At the same time two destroyers who had not yet sortied, Tempete and Simoun, remained near the harbor entrance, milling about temptingly in order to attack some of our vessels under the fire of El Hank.  Albatros was still outside, but dead in the water.
     Again it was Brooklyn, Augusta, destroyers and bombing planes to the rescue.  Action commenced at 1312, range 17,200 yards, rapidly closing to 14,300.  Again the enemy put up a smoke screen, through which the cruisers were unable to find their targets.  La Grandiere was damaged by one of the bombing planes, but returned to harbor safely, and the two small avisos were not touched.  During this short action a brazen little tug was observed towing in Albatros, who was bombed and strafed on the way, and finally beached at the Roches Noires near the Primauguet and Milan.  This was a bad move on the part of the French, because in that position they were easily attacked from seaward by carrier-planes who were not bothered to any great extent by the harbor anti-aircraft defenses.  Primauguet that afternoon suffered several fierce bombings and strafings from Ranger's planes, and her whole forward half was completely wrecked.  A direct hit on her bridge killed the captain, the executive, and seven other officers; Rear Admiral Gervais de Lafond was seriously wounded, but recovered.
     By 1340 the Covering Group was coming up again fast from the westward, and for the third time that day Admiral Hewitt handed over the duty of engaging the enemy to Admiral Giffen, while Captain Emmet's command resumed patrol duties.  Massachusetts fired one salvo at the small ships, and was promptly engaged by El Hank, but ceased firing after ten minutes in order to conserve ammunition.  Wichita and Tuscaloosa stood in toward the harbor, and engaged La Grandiere and Albaros.
     At the height of this action Colonel Wilbur, accompanied by a French guide and Colonel Gay and driven by Major F. M. Rogers made a second auto excursion into Casablanca in the hope of dissuading the French from further resistance.  The advance post let them pass under flag of truce after disarming the party.  They called at army headquarters in Casablanca, and after ascertaining that the Colonel's friend General Bethouart was in jail, and that Michelier was in command, proceeded to the Admiralty on the waterfront.  As they passed through the streets of Casablanca, flying the American flag, the population waved and cheered, and a friendly crowd gathered whenever they halted to ask the way.  About 1400, word was sent in to Admiral Michelier requesting an interview.  An aide came out, saluted, remained at attention, and declared that the Admiral refused to receive them.  As Major Rogers was beginning to argue in his best Harvard French, El Hank let fly a salvo at Wichita.  "Voila votre reponse!" (Here is your answer!)  said the Admiral's aide.
     The last ruse of Admiral Michelier had succeeded.  Wichita and Tuscaloosa, although not hit, were so frequently straddled by gunfire from El Hank that they broke off action at 1450.  Dive-bombers from Ranger also engaged this shore battery, but inflicted no lethal damage.  At 1530 Admiral Giffen signaled Admiral Hewitt. "Have seven loaded guns and will make one more pass at El Hank."  So this day's furious shooting ended in a well-earned tribute to "Old Hank," as the bluejackets named this French shore battery.
     The final score of the battle of Casablanca is very one-sided.  The United States Navy suffered one hit each on destroyers Murphy and Ludlow, cruisers Wichita and Brooklyn and battleship Massachusetts.  Three men were killed on board Murphy and about 25 wounded, by the Sherki battery.  Approximately 40 landing boats were destroyed by enemy action, most of them by airplane strafing when on the beach.  The Army casualties ashore that day were very slight.  The French Navy lost 4 destroyers and 8 submarines sunk or missing; Jean Bart, Primauguet, Albatros and Milan disabled.  Casualties to all French armed forces were stated by the War Department on 23 November to be 490 killed and 969 wounded.  All coast batteries at Fedhala were in our possession at the end of D-day, but those at Casablanca were still in French hands, and operative.
     Admiral Michelier still had his two principal assets, the four 15-inch guns of Jean Bart and the four 194-mm and four 138-mm coast defense guns of Batterie El Hank.  As long as these, and the several mobile and fixed batteries of 75-mm field guns around Casablanca, were undamaged, the Admiral was in good position to bargain.  French naval and air power in Morocco had been irretrievably damaged, but the main American objective, securing Casablanca, was far from being attained; and until we could get the transports and cargo ships into Casablanca they were highly vulnerable to submarine or air attack and also in danger of foul weather damage.
     In general, it may be said that the results were respectable, considering that this is the first major action of the Atlantic Fleet; but no more than reasonably be expected from American local superiority in gun and air power.  Nothing had occurred to upset the principle that coastal batteries have a great advantage over naval gunfire.  Brooklyn to be sure had done a good job on the Sherki. but even her bombardment technique could not have silenced a determined and well-trained crew of gunners.  The value of naval air power was ell demonstrated; for the speedy destruction and driving down of French planes left the cruiser-based planes free to spot fall of shot, while carrier-based bombers and fighters delivered attacks on ships and shore batteries.
     The French observed their traditional economy in the use of ammunition; but the American ships were lavish, considering that they had no place to replenish their magazines that side of Hampton Roads.  If the dreaded Dakar fleet had turned up the next day, it is questionable whether the Covering Group would have had enough shells to defeat them.
     On individual ship performances, that of Brooklyn was typical for intelligently directed and courageously sustained aggressive action.  Her men remained at battle stations from 2215 7 November to 1433 8 November, with a single forty-minute interval at noon, and no hot food, without showing signs of discouragement of fatigue.  The teamwork and morale of that ship was outstanding.  Even the smallest mess attendant, when questioned after the action as to what he had done, since the anti-aircraft gun for which he passed ammunition had never fired, said, "I mostly kept out of people's way, sir–but I did an awful lot of that!"
     Equipped with the latest devices to keep main battery trained on a target while steering evasive courses at a speed of thirty-three knots, Brooklyn delivered an amazing shower of projectiles, and as she zig-zagged and pirouetted, delivering 15-gun salvos and continuous rapid fire from her main battery, her appearance, with great bouquets of flame and smoke blossoming from her 6-inch guns, was a delight to the eye, if not to the ear.  Brooklyn went far to prove, in this action, that the light cruiser is a most useful all-around fighting ship.  She expended almost 1700 rounds of 6-inch common and about 965 rounds of 6-inch high-capacity, on this joyful day of battle, without a single misfire.  At the end of the day Admiral Hewitt sent this message to Captain Denebrink: "Congratulations on your gunnery as evidenced by silencing Sherki battery and on your aggressive offensive action shown throughout the day."
     Augusta also put in an outstanding performance.  Although much of her space and communication facilities were taken up b the two admirals and two generals on board, and their staffs, Captain Gordon Hutchins fought his ship cleverly as well.  Her 8-inch guns could not, of course, shoot as rapidly as the 6-inch of Brooklyn, but they probably did more damage.
     The Covering Group destroyed the Jean Bart as a fighting ship, and probably accounted for the Fougueux and Boulonnais.  Massachusetts, on her shakedown cruise, was full of fight and tip-top in morale; her turret men showed unusual endurance in handling the 16-inch shells for hours on end; out of her 113 officers and 2203 men, only three were in sickbay during the action.  If she did little damage to the battery on El Hank, that was because of her ammunition.  She carried only armor-piercing (AP) 16-inch shells, with a view to engage enemy battleships.  It was well known that AP projectiles would be of slight use in shore bombardment, for which high-capacity (HC) shells with instantaneously acting fuses are required, and Admiral Hewitt's staff made every effort to procure a supply of these for her; but at that time the Bureau of Ordinance could furnish none.  The AP simply drove the gunners off El Hank temporarily to cover; only a direct hit on one of the emplacement could have silenced the battery permanently.
     The destroyers too were well handled.  They acted as all-around utility ships, shepherding the landing boats to the line of departure in dangerous proximity to the shore batteries, delivering accurate and powerful fire on ship and shore targets, and screening the capital ships and transports from torpedo attack.  Many of their officers will appear again and again in this history, especially in Pacific Ocean operations.  One of several commended by their skippers was Lieutenant Franklin D. Roosevelt Jr. USNR, gunnery officer of Mayrant, "for controlling and spotting main battery with skill and good judgment under highly adverse spotting conditions."  These conditions were partly due to the inexperience of plane pilots, partly to the glare of sunlight on the water between our ships and their targets.
     Perhaps the best story of the battle comes from destroyer Wilkes, when screening Brooklyn and Augusta in their fight with Primauguet and the French destroyers.  The officer at the engine-room telephone heard loud reports, and more speed was called for.  "What's going on up there?" he inquired. "Enemy cruiser chasing us," was the reply.  Before long he was almost thrown off his feet by a sudden change of course, and even more speed was called for. "What's going on now?"  he asked.  "We're chasing the enemy cruiser!"

--Rear Admiral Samuel Eliot Morison
From: The United States Navy in World War II
Compiled and Edited by:  S. E. Smith
Part II: Chapter 7: The Naval Battle of Casablanca


U.S.S. Ranger:
USS Ranger CV-4.jpg
USS Ranger underway at sea, 1930s
Class overview
Operators: United States Navy
Preceded by:Lexington class
Succeeded by:Yorktown class
In commission:1934–46
Career (United States)
Name:USS Ranger
Ordered:1 November 1930
Builder:Newport News Shipbuilding & Drydock Co.[1]
Laid down:26 September 1931[2]
Launched:25 February 1933[2]
Sponsored by:Lou Henry Hoover (the wife of the President of the United States)[3]
Commissioned:4 June 1934[4]
Decommissioned:18 October 1946[5]
Struck:29 October 1946[5]
Honors and
American Defense Service Medal ("A" device)
American Campaign Medal
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal (2 stars)[6][7]
Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal
World War II Victory Medal
Fate:Acquired for scrap for $259K on 31 January 1947[5]
General characteristics
Type:Aircraft carrier
Displacement:As built: 14,576 long tons (14,810 t) (standard)
17,577 long tons (17,859 t) (full load)
Length:730 ft (222.5 m) (w/l)
769 ft (234.4 m) (o/a)
Beam:80 ft (24.4 m) (waterline)[8]
109 ft 5 in (33.4 m) (overall)
Draft:22 ft 4.875 in (6.8 m)
Installed power:53,500 shp (39,900 kW)
Propulsion:2 × steam turbines
6 × boilers
2 × shafts
Speed:29.3 kn (33.7 mph; 54.3 km/h)[8]
Range:10,000 nmi (12,000 mi; 19,000 km) at 15 kn (17 mph; 28 km/h)
Complement:216 officers and 2,245 enlisted men including embarked air group(as built)[8]
2,148 (1941)
Sensors and
processing systems:
Armament:8 × 5 in (127 mm)/25 cal anti-aircraft guns
40 × .50 in (12.7 mm) machine guns
  • Belt: 2 in (5.1 cm)
  • Bulkheads: 2 in (5.1 cm)
  • Deck: 1 in (2.5 cm) (over steering gear)
Aircraft carried:86 (maximum)
76 (normal)
Aviation facilities:3 × elevators
3 × catapults

USS Ranger (CV-4) was the first ship of the United States Navy to be designed and built from the keel up as an aircraft carrierRanger was a relatively small ship, closer in size and displacement to the first US carrier—Langley—than later ships. An island superstructure was not included in the original design, but was added after completion. Of the eight pre-war US aircraft carriers CV-1 through CV-8, Ranger was one of only three to survive World War II, the others being Enterprise and Saratoga. Deemed too slow for use with the Pacific Fleet's carrier task forces,[10] the ship spent most of the war in the Atlantic Ocean.

Aircraft on Ranger's deck during Operation Torch
As the largest carrier in the Atlantic Fleet, Ranger led the task force that comprised herself and the four escort carriers. These provided air superiority during the amphibious invasion ofVichy-ruled French Morocco and the resulting Naval Battle of Casablanca, beginning on 8 November.[31]
It was still dark at 06:15 that day, when Ranger—stationed 30 mi (48 km) northwest ofCasablanca—began launching her aircraft to support the landings made at three points on the Atlantic coast of North Africa (Operation Torch).[32] Nine of her Grumman F4F Wildcatfighters attacked the Rabat and Rabat-Sale aerodromes, headquarters of the French air forces in Morocco. Without loss to themselves, they destroyed seven planes at one field, and fourteen bombers at the other. Another flight destroyed seven planes on the Port Lyautey field. Some of Ranger's planes strafed four French destroyers in Casablanca Harbor, while others strafed and bombed nearby shore batteries.
The carrier launched 496 combat sorties in the three-day operation. Her attack aircraft scored two direct bomb hits on the French destroyer leader Albatros, completely wrecking her forward half and causing 300 casualties. They also attacked the French cruiserPrimauguet as she sortied from Casablanca Harbor and dropped depth charges within lethal distance of twosubmarines.[clarification needed] They knocked out coastal defense and anti-aircraft batteries, destroyed more than 70 enemy aircraft on the ground, and shot down 15 aircraft in aerial combat. However, 16 planes from Ranger were lost or damaged beyond repair. It was estimated that 21 enemy light tanks were immobilized and some 86 military vehicles destroyed – most of them troop-carrying trucks.
Casablanca capitulated to the American forces on 11 November.[33] Ranger departed from the Moroccan coast on 12 November,[34]returning to Hampton Roads on 24 November and Norfolk on 14 December 1942.

Raby, John, Lieutenant Commander:  RABY, JOHN
The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to John Raby, Lieutenant Commander, U.S. Navy, for extraordinary heroism in operations against the enemy while serving as Pilot of a carrier-based Navy Fighter Plane and Commanding Officer of Fighting Squadron NINE (VF-9), attached to the U.S.S. RANGER (CV-4), during the occupation of French Morocco, from 8 to 11 November 1942.
Leading a flight of eight planes into combat against sixteen hostile fighters, Lieutenant Commander Raby persistently striking at the foe until he himself shot down two planes, contributed materially to the aggressive fighting spirit which enabled his command to destroy a total of five enemy aircraft and probably two more.
On previous and subsequent raids, pressed home under relentless fire, he led his squadron in effective bombing and strafing attacks against hostile airdromes, shore batteries, machine-gun nests, and flying and grounded aircraft. His outstanding courage and determined skill were at all times inspiring and in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
Born: November 1, 1907 at Palo Alto, California
Home Town: Pensacola, Florida
NOTE: Admiral Raby was the son of James Joseph Raby, Rear Admiral, United States Navy, and they are buried in the same section at Arlington National Cemetery. 


F4F Wildcat
F4F-3 new pitot tube of later model.jpg
F4F-3 in non-reflective blue-gray over light gray scheme from early 1942
National originUnited States
First flight2 September 1937
IntroductionDecember 1940
Primary usersUnited States Navy
United States Marine Corps
Royal Navy
Royal Canadian Navy
Number built7,885 [1]
The Grumman F4F Wildcat was an American carrier-based fighter aircraft that began service with both the United States Navy and the British Royal Navy (as the Martlet) in 1940. First used in combat by the British in Europe, the Wildcat was the only effective fighter available to the United States Navy and Marine Corps in the Pacific Theater during the early part of World War II in 1941 and 1942; the disappointing Brewster Buffalo was withdrawn in favor of the Wildcat and replaced as units became available. With a top speed of 318 mph (512 km/h), the Wildcat was still outperformed by the faster 331 mph (533 km/h), more maneuverable, and longer ranged Mitsubishi A6M Zero. But the F4F's ruggedness, coupled with tactics such as the Thach Weave, resulted in an air combat kill-to-loss ratio of 5.9:1 in 1942 and 6.9:1 for the entire war.[2]
Lessons learned from the Wildcat were later applied to the faster F6F Hellcatwhich, with the exception of range,[3] could outperform the Zero on its own terms. The Wildcat continued to be built throughout the remainder of the war to serve on escort carriers, where larger and heavier fighters could not be used.
I would still assess the Wildcat as the outstanding naval fighter of the early years of World War II ... I can vouch as a matter of personal experience, this Grumman fighter was one of the finest shipboard aeroplanes ever created.
Eric M. "Winkle" Brown, British test pilot

U.S. Navy Wildcats participated in Operation Torch. USN escort carriers in the Atlantic used Wildcats.


In all, 7,860 Wildcats were built.[24][N 3] During the course of the war, Navy and Marine F4Fs and FMs flew 15,553 combat sorties (14,027 of these from aircraft carriers[25]), destroying 1,327 enemy aircraft at a cost of 178 aerial losses, 24 to ground/shipboard fire, and 49 to operational causes[26] (an overall kill-to-loss ratio of 6.9:1).[27] True to their escort fighter role, Wildcats dropped only 154 tons of bombs during the war. 

SBD Dauntless dive bomber:

SBD Dauntless
A-24 Banshee
Dauntless bomb drop.jpg
U.S. Navy SBD releasing a bomb. Note the extended dive brakes on the trailing edges.
RoleDive bomber
Scout plane
National originUnited States
ManufacturerDouglas Aircraft
DesignerEd Heinemann
First flight1 May 1940
Retired1959 (Mexico)
Primary usersU.S. Navy
U.S. Marine Corps
Free French Air Force
Number built5,936
Developed fromNorthrop BT
The Douglas SBD Dauntless was a World War II American naval scout planeand dive bomber that was manufactured by Douglas Aircraft from 1940 through 1944. The SBD ("Scout Bomber Douglas") was the U.S. Navy's main carrier-borne scout plane and dive bomber from mid-1940 through mid-1944. The SBD was also flown by the U.S. Marine Corps, both from land air bases and aircraft carriers. The SBD is best remembered as the bomber that delivered the fatal blows to the Japanese carriers at the Battle of Midway in June 1942.
During its combat service, the SBD was an excellent naval scout plane and arguably the world's best dive bomber. It possessed long range, good handling characteristics, maneuverability, potent bomb load capacity, great diving characteristics, defensive armament and ruggedness. In most of these characteristics, the SBD was superior to the German Junkers Ju 87, the Japanese Aichi D3A "Val", and any dive bomber possessed by the Royal Air Force or the Soviet Air Force.[citation needed] A variant was a purpose-built design for the U.S. Army Air Forces, which used the SBD without an arrestor hook as the A-24 Banshee.

In the Atlantic Ocean the SBD saw action during Operation Torch, the Allied landings in North Africa in November 1942. The SBDs flew from the USS Ranger and two escort carriers. Eleven months later, during Operation Leader, the SBDs saw their European debut when aircraft from the Ranger attacked Nazi German shipping around BodøNorway.

Jean Bart:

Battleship Jean Bart
The Jean Bart, photographed from a plane of the USS Ranger. Turret number two was not yet operational.
Career (France)
Name:Jean Bart
Namesake:Jean Bart
Laid down:December 1936
Launched:6 March 1940
Commissioned:16 January 1949
Reclassified:1961 Gunnery School Tender
Fate:Scrapped 24 June 1970
General characteristics
Class & type:Richelieu-class battleship
35,000 tons standard[a] as designed
48,950 t at full load, in 1949
Length:248 m
Beam:35 m
Draught:9.60 m
Propulsion:four Parsons geared turbines,
six Indret «Sural» boilers
150,000 hp (112 MW)
Speed:32 knots (59 km/h)
Range:7671 nautical miles (14,207 km) at 20 knots (37 km/h); 3181 nautical miles (5,891 km) at 30 knots (56 km/h)
911 men in 1950 (incomplete)
1,280 men during the Suez affair
till 1952–53
  • 8 × 40 mm AA
  • 20 × 20 mm AA
from 1953–54
  • 24 × 100 mm in 12 twin mountings CAD Model 1945
  • 28 × 57 mm in 14 twin mountings ACAD Model 1950
  • Belt: 330 mm
  • Upper armoured deck: 150–170 mm
  • Lower armoured deck: 40 mm

Jean Bart was a French battleship of World War II, named for the 17th-century seaman, privateer, and corsair Jean Bart. She was the second Richelieu-classbattleship. Derived from the Dunkerque classJean Bart (and her sister shipRichelieu) were designed to fight the new battleships of the Italian Navy. Their speed, shielding, armament, and overall technology were state of the art, but they had a rather unusual main battery armament arrangement, with two 4-gun turrets forward and none aft.
Jean Bart was incomplete in when France surrendered to Germany in June 1940. She sailed from Saint-Nazaire to Casablanca just before the Armistice. She was sunk in harbour in 1942. After the war she was re-floated, completed with an updated anti-aircraft battery, and entered service in 1955. She had a very short career: Jean Bart was put into reserve in 1957, decommissioned in 1961, and scrapped in 1969.

Jean Bart, moored in Casablanca harbour, stayed uncompleted as facilities to complete her were completely lacking.[29] Her 90 mm and 37 mm mountings were even disembarked, and reallocated to the Casablanca harbour anti-aircraft defence, and the battleship left with only four twin 13.2 mm AA machine guns.[citation needed]
During 1941, a 14 m (46 ft) duplex OPL[e] Modèle 1937 rangefinder was installed on the fore tower platform 8, and another 8 m (26 ft) duplex OPL Modèle 1937 range finder, atop the #2 turret. A 3 m (9.8 ft) SOM[f] range finder was fitted atop the conning tower for navigation, and, in October, two fire control directors, with 3 m (9.8 ft) SOM range finder, removed from the Dunkerque, were fitted on the bridge wings.
In April 1942, the anti-aircraft defence was reinforced with four 37 mm AA single CAS Modèle 1925 mountings,and two new-built 90 mm twin AA mountings.
In May, a standard test-firing of the 380 mm guns was carried out, as a fire control system was conceived, using triangulation from three points, the forward tower of Jean Bart, and the shore stations of Sidi Abderhamane and Dar Bou Azza.[30]
In June, two 37 mm AA double semi-automatic CAD Modèle 1933 mountings were fitted as the single 37 mm Modèle 1925, but one, were disembarked. The French DEM [g] early radar installation was installed, with two rotating antennæ atop the forward tower, and passed for operational service in October.
During early November, a fifth 90 mm AA mounting was installed.

The Jean Bart attacked by planes of theUSS Ranger
On 8 November 1942, Allied landings in French North Africa (Operation Torch) began. Vichy French government forces attacked the Allied forces in defense of the neutrality of French Morocco, in what became known as the Naval Battle of CasablancaJean Bart opened fire with the four 380 mm (15 in) guns of her one operational turret on U.S. warships covering the landings. She was hit aand moderately damaged by U.S. dive bombers from the aircraft carrier USS Ranger. She was silenced by the fifth hit from the 406 mm (16.0 in) guns of theUSS Massachusetts battleship, which jammed the rotating mechanism of the one working turret.. The first of the seven 406 mm (16.0 in) shells which hit her, and the only one which pierced the upper armoured deck, had exploded in a magazine of 152 mm (6.0 in) turret, which was empty as these turrets had not been installed. In normal war circumstances, this event would have had catastrophic consequences.[32] The weakness of the armor of these magazines was known, and was to be corrected on the Gascogne.
The 380 mm (15 in) turret was quickly repaired. On 10 November, Jean Bart opened fire again, and almost hit the USS Augusta, the Task Force 34 flagship. Bombers from Ranger soon inflicted severe damage on her, two heavy bombs hitting the bow and the stern, and she sank into the harbor mud with decks awash.[33][34]
Jean Bart's commanding officer, Captain Barthes, was promoted to Rear Admiral on 18 November 1942. During the three days of the 'Battle of Casablanca', Jean Bart fired twenty-five 380 mm rounds; twenty-two of her seamen were killed.

Lamotte-Piquetsister of Primauguet
Career (France)
Namesake:Hervé de Portzmoguer
Builder:Arsenal de Brest
Laid down:16 August 1923
Launched:21 May 1924
Commissioned:1 April 1927
Fate:Destroyed in harbour, 8 November 1942
General characteristics
Class & type:Duguay-Trouin class cruiser
Displacement:7,249 tons (standard)
9350 tons (full load)[1]
Length:181.30 m (595 ft) overall
Beam:17.50 m (56.5 ft)
Draught:6.14 m, 6.30 full load (17 ft)
Propulsion:4-shaft Parsons single-reduction geared turbines; 8 Guyot boilers; 102,000 shp
Speed:33 knots (61 km/h)[1]
Range:3,000 nautical miles (6,000 km) at 15 knots (28 km/h)
Complement:27 officers, 551 sailors
Armament:8 × 155 mm (6.1in) (4 × 2)
4 × 75 mm anti-aircraft (4 × 1)
12 × 550 mm torpedo tubes (4 × 3)[1]
Armour:deck: 20 millimetres
magazine box 30 millimetres
turrets and tower: 30 millimetres.
Aircraft carried:Gourdou-Leseurre GL-812, later GL-832
1 catapult

Primauguet was a French Duguay-Trouin-class light cruiser built after World War I and destroyed by US naval gunfire from the battleship Massachusetts. She was named after the 15th century Breton captain Hervé de Portzmoguer, nicknamed "Primauguet".


Primauguet was commissioned in April 1927 and immediately commenced a seven month world cruise, returning in mid-December. The pattern of extended cruises was maintained until April 1932, when she was stationed in the Far East until a refit in January 1936. The Far East posting was resumed in November 1937 until she was relieved by the Suffren and returned to France.
The first months of World War II were spent on Atlantic patrols, convoy escort and surveillance of Axis shipping. On 1 April 1940, she sailed for Fort-de-France in the West Indies, to replace the Jeanne d'Arc. She operated in Dutch West Indies waters, intercepting merchant ships. On 6 May 1940, Primauguet, under the command of Vessel Captain Pierre Goybet, relieved HMS Dundeeoff Aruba and, at the Dutch surrender, she landed forces to secure the oil installations. Primauguet returned to Dakar on 12 June 1940, after the French surrender.
Primauguet remained with the Vichy French Navy after the French surrender in 1940. She brought a part of the French Gold Reserve of Banque de France in Africa. Primauguet was at Dakar in July 1940 during the Royal Navy's attack on the French fleet at Mers-el-Kebir.
She was sent to escort an oiler in support of three La Galissonniere-class cruisers of the 4th Squadron. They were on an operation to Libreville, inFrench Equatorial Africa, to counter Free French activity. In the Bight of Benin, the French force was intercepted by the British cruisers HMS Cornwall andHMS Delhi. After negotiations, Primauguet was ordered to turn back toCasablanca by Admiral Bourague, aboard Georges Leygues.
On 8 November 1941, she began a refit in Casablanca and was not fully operational when the Naval Battle of Casablanca started. She was shelled by the USS Massachusetts and Wichita, the two largest ships of the opposing American force. Primauguet returned fire despite the odds. Massively outgunned, she was badly damaged and suffered many casualties with 45 crew dead and more than 200 wounded. She burnt out overnight, and was beached on a reef near of the shore; the wreck was destroyed by tides a few days later and became a total loss.

TBF/TBM Avenger
TBF Avenger in Flight.jpg
RoleTorpedo bomber
General Motors
First flight7 August 1941
Primary usersUnited States Navy
Royal Navy
Royal Canadian Navy
Royal New Zealand Air Force
Number built9,839

The Grumman TBF Avenger (designated TBM for aircraft manufactured byGeneral Motors) was a torpedo bomber developed initially for the United States Navy and Marine Corps, and eventually used by several air or naval arms around the world.
The Avenger entered U.S. service in 1942, and first saw action during theBattle of Midway. Despite the loss of five of the six Avengers on its combat debut, it survived in service to become one of the outstanding torpedo bombers of World War II. Greatly modified after the war, it remained in use until the 1960s.

U.S.S. Massachusetts:
USS Massachusetts (BB-59)
USS Massachusetts (BB-59) underway off the coast of Point Wilson, 1944
Massachusetts off the coast of Point WilsonWashington
Career (USA)
Ordered:15 December 1938
Builder:Bethlehem Steel Corporation (Fore River Shipyard)
Laid down:20 July 1939
Launched:23 September 1941
Commissioned:12 May 1942
Decommissioned:27 March 1947
Struck:1 June 1962
Nickname:"Big Mamie"
Status:Museum ship
General characteristics
Class & type:South Dakota-class battleship
Displacement:35,000 tons
Length:680.8 ft (207.5 m)
Beam:108.2 ft (33.0 m)
Draft:29.3 ft (8.9 m)
Speed:27 knots (50 km/h; 31 mph)
Complement:115 officers, 1,678 men
Armament:9 × 16 in (410 mm)/45 caliber Mark 6 guns
20 × 5 in (130 mm)/38 cal guns
52 × Bofors 40 mm guns (13x4)
35 × Oerlikon 20 mm cannons
USS Massachusetts (BB-59)
A large ship resting on the water under a bridge, smaller boats are visible in the foreground along with a ripple effect on the water.
Massachusetts at Battleship Cove
USS Massachusetts (BB-59) is located in Massachusetts
USS Massachusetts (BB-59)
Location5 Water Street, Battleship Cove,Fall River, Massachusetts
Coordinates41°42′22.3″N 71°9′48″W
ArchitectUS Navy
Governing bodyPrivate
NRHP Reference #76002269[1]
Significant dates
Added to NRHP30 September 1976[1]
Designated NHL14 January 1986[2]

USS Massachusetts (BB-59), known as "Big Mamie" to her crewmembers during World War II, was a battleship of the second South Dakota class. She was the seventh ship of the United States Navy to be named in honor of the sixth state, and one of two ships of her class (along with her sister Alabama) to be donated for use as a museum shipMassachusetts has the distinction of having fired the US Navy's first and last 16-in (406 mm) shells of the war.[3]
During World War II Massachusetts was initially assigned to duty in the Atlantic Fleet, and exchanged shots with the Vichy French battleship Jean Bart during Operation Torch. Transferred to the Pacific fleet in 1943,Massachusetts participated in the Solomon Islands campaign and thePhilippines Campaign, and in the latter campaign took part in the Battle of Leyte Gulf. In 1945 she was one of several ships assigned to shell targets onHonshū, the largest of the Japanese Home Islands. Following the end of World War II, Massachusetts was involved in routine operations off the US coast and eventually reassigned to the Atlantic fleet. Decommissioned in 1947, she was laid up in the reserve fleet at Norfolk, Virginia until stricken from the Naval Vessel Register in 1962.
In an effort to spare the battleship from scrapping, citizens of Massachusetts pooled resources to raise money for her transfer to the MassachusettsMemorial Committee, and in 1965 the Navy formally donated the battleship to the committee. Massachusetts was towed to Battleship CoveFall River, Massachusetts, and formally opened as a museum ship on 14 August 1965.

After a shakedown cruiseMassachusetts set sail from the United States on 24 October 1942. Four days later she joined a task force forming to support the invasion of North Africa, where she served as the flagship for Admiral Henry Kent Hewitt during Operation Torch.[5]

Massachusetts off Casablanca, 8 November 1942.
Early in the morning on 8 November the Naval Battle of Casablancabegan. Lying off the city,Massachusetts, the heavy cruisersTuscaloosa and Wichita and fourdestroyers, came under fire from four 194 mm (7.6 in) and four 138 mm (5.4 in) guns in a shore battery at El Hank. The American ships responded by shelling Jean Bart, an incomplete French battleship forced to sail from Saint-Nazaire in May 1940 to escape advancing Nazi forces. When engaged, Jean Bart had only one of her two quadruple turrets installed, the other and half its guns had been lost to torpedo attack while in shipment from France.[8]
Massachusetts began firing at 07:04 at a range of 22,000 m (72,000 ft); she continued until 08:33 with a seven-minute halt from 07:40 to 07:47. A total of nine full broadsides and thirty-eight volleys varying between three and six guns were fired, five rounds hit Jean Bart. One, at 08:06, disabled her operational turret, others struck docks and merchant ships, sinking two.[9]
With the help of the heavy cruiser TuscaloosaMassachusetts next targeted French destroyers in the fray, sinking Fougueux andBoulonnais as well as the light cruiser Primauguet. Along with shore batteries, she shelled an ammunition dump. Massachusetts was hit twice by the battery at El Hank, but sustained only superficial damage.[5] By the end of the engagement she had fired 786 of the 800 rounds of 16 inch ammunition she carried, or 98% of her complement.[6]
After a cease-fire, she headed for the United States on 12 November and prepared for deployment to the Pacific.

U.S.S. Tuscaloosa:
USS Tuscaloosa
USS Tuscaloosa off Iwo Jima on 16 February 1945
Career (United States of America)
Name:USS Tuscaloosa
Namesake:Tuscaloosa, Alabama
Builder:New York Shipbuilding Co.
Laid down:3 September 1931
Launched:15 November 1933
Commissioned:17 August 1934
Decommissioned:13 February 1946
Struck:1 March 1959
Fate:Scrapped in 1959
General characteristics
Class & type:New Orleans-class heavy cruiser
Displacement:9,975 tons
Length:574 ft (175 m) (waterline); 588 ft 2 in (179.27 m) (overall)
Beam:61 ft 9 in (18.82 m)
Draft:19 ft 5 in (5.92 m) (mean); 23 ft 6 in (7,160 mm) (maximum)
Installed power:107,000 shp (80,000 kW)
Propulsion:4 × Parsons geared turbines,
8 × Babcock and Wilcox boilers,
4 × shafts
Speed:32.7 kn (37.6 mph; 60.6 km/h)
Capacity:1,650 tons of fuel oil
Complement:708 officers and enlisted men
Armament:9 × 8 in (200 mm)/55 cal guns (3x3)
8 × 5 in (130 mm)/25 cal AA guns[1]
8 × 0.50 in (12.7 mm) machine guns, early on—machine guns later replaced with 16 × 40 mm guns, 19 ×20 mm cannons
  • Belt: 5 in (130 mm) (amidships); 1.5 in (38 mm) (fore and aft)
  • Deck: 3 in (76 mm) + 2 in (51 mm)
  • Turrets: 5 to 6 in (130 to 150 mm) (face); 3 in (76 mm) (sides, back)
  • Conning Tower: 8 in (200 mm)
Aircraft carried:4 × floatplanes
Aviation facilities:2 × Aircraft catapults

USS Tuscaloosa (CA-37) was a New Orleans-class heavy cruiser of the U.S. Navy. Commissioned in 1934, she spent most of her career in the Atlantic and Caribbean, participating in several European wartime operations. In early 1945, she transferred to the Pacific and assisted in shore bombardment of Iwo Jimaand Okinawa. She earned 7 battle stars for her service in World War II. Never damaged in battle, she led a charmed life compared to her six sister ships, three of which were sunk and the other three heavily damaged.
She was decommissioned in early 1946 and scrapped in 1959.

Tuscaloosa in October 1942

On 8 November 1942, Operation Torch—the code name of the Anglo-American effort to conquer Northwestern Africa from the Vichy French and Nazi Germany, and thence to expel the Axis Powers from Africa—got underway.

Off CasablancaFrench Morocco, the heavy cruisers Tuscaloosa and the Wichitajoined the new American battleship Massachusetts, the aircraft carrier Ranger and numerous light cruisers and destroyers as the "big guns" for the segment of Operation Torch in Morocco. (Other forces invaded Algeria via the Mediterranean Sea.) As American troops waded ashore, the Tuscaloosa's powerful 8-inch, 55-calibre guns, aided by accurate spotting from the cruiser's scout planes, thundered loudly and senthigh explosive shells flying shorewards into the French Army's defensive positions. In the harbor, French Navy warships scurried about as they prepared to sortie against the attackers.
The unfinished and immobile French Navy battleship Jean Bart, could still throw a powerful punch from her few completed 15 in (380 mm) naval guns, and she fired several relatively accurate salvoes, straddling the American warships several times with shell splashes. (The French did not have any fire control radars at that time, or for years later.) The French Army's shore batteries at Table d'Aukasha and El Hank also proved to be troublesome. However, the combined might of the American warships and naval air powersilenced both the shore batteries and the big guns of the Jean Bart, and demolished several French Air Force airfields.
After being narrowly missed by several torpedoes from a Vichy French submarine and shells from the Jean Bart's heavy artillery, theTuscaloosa retired from the battle scene to refuel at sea and to replenish her ammunition in deeper waters farther offshore. After these laborious operations, she remained offshore in support of the invasion and then she headed back to the East Coast of the United States for a major shipyard overhaul and replenishment at a large naval base.
Following this ovehaul, the Tuscaloosa rejoined the mission covering convoys bound for North Africa via the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, while American, British, Free French troops and airmen pushed the Axis Armies and the Vichy French forces out of Morocco and Algeria, and following that, cornering them in northern Tunisia around the city of Tunis. At that point, all of the Axis troops in Tunisia surrendered to the Allies in early May 1943, and thus the Axis powers were expelled from Africa.
Meanwhile, from March through May 1943, the Tuscaloosa steamed in a task force on training exercises off the east coast of the United States.
Besides honing its fighting edge, this group formed a fast, mobile, and ready striking force, should German surface ships slip through the Allied blockade to terrorize Allied shipping in the Atlantic. In late May, she escorted RMS Queen Mary, which bore British Prime Minister Churchill to New York City. After rejoining the task force for a brief time, Tuscaloosa joined Augusta at the Boston Navy Yardfor a 10-day work period.

U.S.S. Wichita:

USS Wichita (CA-45)
Career (United States)
Laid down:28 October 1935
Launched:16 November 1937
Commissioned:16 February 1939
Decommissioned:3 February 1947
Struck:1 March 1959
Fate:Sold for scrapping, 14 August 1959
General characteristics
Type:Heavy cruiser
Displacement:Standard: 10,589 long tons (10,759 t)
Full load: 13,015 long tons (13,224 t)
Length:608 ft 4 in (185.42 m)
Beam:61 ft 9 in (18.82 m)
Draft:23 ft 9 in (7.24 m)
Propulsion:Parsons steam turbines
Babcock & Wilcox boilers
4 screws
100,000 shp (75 MW)
Speed:33 kn (61 km/h; 38 mph)
Range:10,000 nmi (19,000 km; 12,000 mi) at 15 kn (28 km/h; 17 mph)
Crew:929 officers and enlisted
Armament:9 × 8 in /55 Mk 12 guns
8 × 5 in /38 Mk 12
Armor:Belt armor: 6.4 in (160 mm)
Deck: 2.25 in (57 mm)
Turrets: 8 in (200 mm)
Conning tower: 6 in (150 mm)
Aircraft carried:scout planes
Aviation facilities:catapults
USS Wichita (CA-45) was a unique heavy cruiser of the United States Navybuilt in the 1930s. She was authorized by the 1929 Cruiser Act, laid down at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard in October 1935, launched in November 1937, and commissioned into the US Navy in February 1939. The last American cruiser built under the terms of the London Naval TreatyWichita was a heavy cruiser variant of the Brooklyn class of light cruisers, and formed the basis for the later Baltimore-class cruisers. She was armed with a main battery of nine 8-inch (200 mm) guns in three triple turrets. Following her commissioning,Wichita was assigned to neutrality patrols in the Atlantic.
After the United States entered World War II, the ship saw heavy service throughout the conflict. She was first assigned to convoy escort duty on theMurmansk Run in early 1942, and supported amphibious landings duringOperation Torch in November 1942. During the Naval Battle of Casablanca,Wichita engaged several French coastal batteries and warships, including the battleship Jean Bart. In 1943, Wichita was transferred to the Pacific Theater, where she remained for the duration of the war. She frequently provided antiaircraft defense for the Fast Carrier Task Force during operations in the central Pacific, including the Battles of the Philippine Sea and Leyte Gulf in 1944. During the latter engagement, Wichita assisted in the sinking of the Japanese aircraft carrier Chiyoda.
Wichita was heavily engaged during the invasion of Okinawa, where she provided heavy gunfire support to ground troops ashore. After the Japanese surrender, the ship served as part of the occupation force in Japan and assisted in the repatriation of American military personnel under Operation Magic Carpet. After returning to the United States, she was decommissioned and placed in the mothball fleet in 1946. She remained in reserve until 1959, when she was stricken from the Naval Vessel Register and sold for scrapping in August 1959.

Wichita in a gunnery duel with Jean Bart
At the end of October, Wichita was assigned to Task Group 34.1, under the command of Rear Admiral H. Kent Hewitt, who flew his flag in Augusta.[5] The Task Group also included the battleship Massachusetts and Tuscaloosa.[21] The ships were assigned to provide gunfire support for Operation Torch, the invasion of French North Africa. Wichita participated in the Naval Battle of Casablanca, which began early on the morning of 8 November. The ships were tasked with neutralizing the primary French defenses, which included coastal guns on El Hank, several submarines, and the incomplete battleship Jean Bart which lay at anchor in the harbor. Wichita and Tuscaloosa initially engaged the French batteries on El Hank and the French submarine pens, while Massachusetts attacked Jean Bart. French naval forces, led by the cruiser Primauguet, put up a stubborn defense.[22][23]
In response, the French launched a pair of attacks to break up the American landings. During the first French attack, either Wichita or Tuscaloosa damaged the French destroyer Milan and forced it aground. A second French attack was also defeated; one of the two cruisers sank the destroyer Fougueux and damaged FrondeurWichitaTuscaloosa, and Massachusetts also engaged Jean Bart.[22][24] At 11:28, Wichita was hit by a 194 mm (7.6 in) shell, fired by a gun on El Hank. The shell penetrated her deck and exploded below, injuring fourteen men. Hewitt broke off the attack temporarily, but by 13:12, several American warships began firing on French vessels exiting the harbor. Wichita and Tuscaloosa closed on the port to engage the cruisersPrimauguet and Gloire, still in the harbor. Heavy fire from El Hank forced the American cruisers to retreat shortly after 15:00.[25] For the remainder of the operations off North Africa, Wichita patrolled between Casablanca and Fedhala. Her part in the amphibious assault complete, Wichita departed the area on 12 November, bound for New York for repairs; she arrived on 19 November.

Moon, Don P., Captain:

Don Pardee Moon
BornApril 18, 1894
Kokomo, Indiana
DiedAugust 5, 1944 (aged 50)
Aboard the USS Bayfield , Naples, Italy
Place of burialArlington National Cemetery
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branchUnited States Department of the Navy Seal.svg United States Navy
Years of service1916–1944
RankUS-O8 insignia.svg Rear Admiral
Commands heldUSS John D. Ford
Battles/warsWorld War I
World War II
AwardsDistinguished Service Medal
Legion of Merit
Don Pardee Moon (April 18, 1894 – August 5, 1944) was a Rear Admiral of the United States Navy, who fought in the invasion of Europe. He was born inKokomoIndianaUSA. He married and had four children.

Moon entered the United States Naval Academy and graduated in June 1916, being particularly efficient in gunnery. He was assigned to the battleshipArizona (BB-39) and while there developed several instruments to improve gunnery. He later served in the battleships Colorado (BB-45) and Nevada (BB-36) before returning to shore in 1926.
By 1934 he was commanding officer of the Asiatic Fleet destroyer John D. Ford (DD-228). He was put in command of a destroyer division in 1940 and became a captain in 1941. He took part in the invasion of North Africa in 1942. In 1944 he was promoted to rear admiral. During the June 6, 1944 invasion of Normandy he directed the landings on Utah Beach from Bayfield (APA-33). For three weeks the Bayfield was in position off Utah beach and officers and men were on four hour rotating shifts for this entire time. Shortly afterwards the Bayfield was sent to Naples to for the invasion of Southern France. However on August 5, 1944, Moon shot himself with his .45 caliber pistol. Hissuicide was blamed on battle fatigue.
He was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.[1] He was survived by his wife Sibyl, and his four children, Meredith, Don, David, and Peter.

U.S.S. Wainwright:
USS Wainwright (DD-419)
Wainwright at Norfolk Navy Yard 22 March 1942
Career (United States)
Builder:Norfolk Naval Shipyard
Laid down:7 June 1938
Launched:21 June 1939
Commissioned:15 April 1940
Decommissioned:29 August 1946
Struck:13 July 1948
Honors and
American Defense Service Medal("Fleet" clasp, "A" device), European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal (7 stars), Asiatic-Pacific Campaign MedalWorld War II Victory MedalNavy Occupation Service Medal ("Japan" clasp)
Fate:Sunk as target 5 July 1948 after exposure to Operation Crossroadsatomic tests
General characteristics
Class & type:Sims-class destroyer
Displacement:1,570 long tons (1,600 t) (std)
2,211 long tons (2,246 t) (full)
Length:348 ft, 3¼ in, (106.15 m)
Beam:36 ft, 1 in (11 m)
Draft:13 ft, 4.5 in (4.07 m)
Propulsion:High-pressure super-heated boilers, geared turbines with twin screws, 50,000 horsepower
Speed:35 knots
Range:3,660 nautical miles at 20 kt
  (6,780 km at 37 km/h)
Complement:192 (10 officers/182 enlisted)
Armament:4 × 5 inch/38, in single mounts
4 × .50 caliber/90, in single mounts
8 × 21 inch torpedo tubes in two quadruple mounts
2 × depth charge track, 10 depth charges

USS Wainwright (DD-419) was a World War II-era Sims-class destroyer in the service of the United States Navy. The ship was named to honor Jonathan Mayhew Wainwright, his son, Master Jonathan Wainwright, Jr., his cousin, Commander Richard Wainwright, and also Rear Admiral Richard Wainwright
Wainwright was laid down on 7 June 1938 at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard; launched on 1 June 1939; sponsored by Mrs. Henry Meiggs; and commissioned on 15 April 1940, Lieutenant Commander Thomas L. Lewis in command.

Wainwright continued to escort Atlantic convoys through the summer and into the fall of 1942. However, no action like that she encountered on 4 July occurred. It was not until the first large-scale amphibious operation of the European-African-Middle Eastern theater came along in November that she again engaged the enemy in deadly earnest.
For the invasion of French MoroccoWainwright was assigned to the four-destroyer screen of the Covering Group (Task Group 34.1) built around MassachusettsTuscaloosa, and Wichita. Assembled at Casco Bay, Maine, that group got underway on 24 October and, two days later, rendezvoused with the remainder of Task Force 34 (TF 34), which had sortied from Hampton Roads. The task force reached the Moroccan coast on the night of 7/8 November. The invasion was scheduled for the pre-dawn hours of the following morning. The Covering Force drew the two-fold mission of protecting the transports in the event of a sortie by French heavy surface units based at Dakar and of preventing a sortie by the French light forces based at Casablanca.
For Wainwright, the Naval Battle of Casablanca opened just before 0700 on 8 November when her antiaircraft gunners joined those of the other ships of the Covering Force in chasing away two Vichy French planes. Later that morning, Casablanca-based submarines, destroyers, and the cruiser Primauget sallied forth to oppose the landings, already in progress at FedhalaWainwright joinedMassachusettsTuscaloosaWichita and the other three destroyers in stopping that attack. Their efforts cost the French heavily. Four Vichy destroyers and eight submarines were sunk while the light cruiser and two destroyer-leaders suffered crippling damage. In addition to her part in the engagement with the French warships, Wainwright also participated in the intermittent gun duels with batteries ashore.
For the next three days, Wainwright remained off the Moroccan coast supporting the invasion. The Army invested Casablanca by the night of 10 November, and the French capitulated late the following morning. On 12 November, the Covering Force, with Wainwright in the screen, sailed for home. The destroyer arrived in New York on 21 November and immediately began a two-week repair period.

U.S.S. Mayrant:
USS Mayrant (DD-402)
Career (US)
Name:USS Mayrant
Namesake:John Mayrant
Builder:Boston Navy Yard
Laid down:15 April 1937
Launched:14 May 1938
Sponsored by:Mrs. E. Sheely
Commissioned:13 September 1939
Decommissioned:28 August 1946
Struck:30 April 1948
Fate:Scuttled off Kwajalein 4 April 1948
General characteristics
Class & type:Benham-class destroyer
Displacement:1,725 long tons (1,753 t)
Length:431 ft 1 in (131.39 m)
Beam:35 ft 5 in (10.80 m)
Draft:14 ft 4 in (4.37 m)
Speed:38.5 kn (71.3 km/h; 44.3 mph)
Complement:184 officers and enlisted
Armament:4 × 5 in (130 mm)[clarification needed]
16 × 21 mm (0.83 in)[clarification needed]

The second USS Mayrant (DD-402) was a Benham-class destroyer in theUnited States Navy, the second ship named for John Mayrant. Commissioned shortly before World War II, she was primarily active in the Atlantic theater of the war, and was decommissioned after being used as a target in theOperation Crossroads atomic weapons tests.

Mayrant returned to the east coast in July and immediately put her experience to work conducting antisubmarine warfare training exercises in the Caribbean. Relieved of that duty in October, she resumed convoy work. She escorted troops to north Africa for the November invasions and screened the covering force for the Naval Battle of Casablanca off Casablanca 8 and 9 November. Continuing her support activities, she helped to insure the safe passage of supplies to the area into the new year, 1943.

Following the success of the north African invasion, Mayrant spent several months on convoy duty off the east coast, returning to north African waters in May. Passing through the Straits of Gibraltar, she arrived Mers-el Kebir, 23 May. Throughout June she cruised the north African coast from Oran to Bizerte, escorting convoys and conducting antisubmarine patrols. On 14 July, she shifted her base of operations north toward Sicily. While on anti-air patrol off Palermo, 26 July, she was attacked by Luftwaffe dive bombers.

A near miss, only a yard or two off her port bow, during this encounter caused extensive damage. Her side ruptured and her engineering space flooded, she was towed into Palermo with five dead and 18 wounded. When the engineering space of a ship is flooded, the ship usually sinks. However, heroic action of her crew, and able assistance of several other ships who pumped water and provided electric power, kept the Mayrant floating as she crawled back to harbor. Her executive officer, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Jr., was later awarded the Silver Star for his action in saving the ship. In port, mattresses were stuffed into the holes in the ship's sides. In spite of her damage, the destroyer's secondary guns helped repel several Luftwaffe raids on Palermo during the next week. On 9 August, she was towed to Malta where temporary repairs were completed by 14 November. She then steamed to Charleston, South Carolina for extensive yard repairs.

U.S.S. Rhind:

Career (US)
Namesake:Alexander Colden Rhind
Builder:Philadelphia Naval Shipyard
Laid down:22 September 1937
Launched:28 July 1938
Commissioned:10 November 1939
Decommissioned:26 August 1946
Struck:5 April 1948
Fate:sunk, 22 March 1948
General characteristics
Class & type:Benham-class destroyer
Displacement:2,350 tons (full)
Length:341 ft 3 in
Beam:35 ft 5 in
Draft:14 ft 4 in
Propulsion:50,000 shp,
Westinghouse Geared Turbines,
2 propellers
Speed:34 knots
Complement:184 officers and enlisted
Armament:4 × 5 in./38 guns (12 cm),
16 × 21 in. torpedo tubes
USS Rhind (DD-404) was a Benham-class destroyer in the United States Navy. She was named for Alexander Colden Rhind.
Rhind (DD-404) was laid down 22 September 1937 at the Philadelphia Navy Yard; launched 28 July 1938; sponsored by Mrs. Frederick S. Camp; and commissioned 10 November 1939, Commander G. R. Cooper in command.

Screening Massachusetts (BB-59) en route she arrived off the Moroccancoast on the night of 7 November. During the Naval Battle of Casablanca on the 8th she shelled Vichy vessels attempting to repel theAllied invasion of North Africa and blasted shore batteries. Through the 12th, she supported the troops ashore and screened larger ships in the Fedhala-Casablanca area. Back at Hampton Roads 20 November, the destroyer resumed escort duty and into the new year, 1943, guarded convoys to North Africa. On 28 April she returned to New York with convoy GUS-6, which had departed, as UGS-6, 4 March and had lost five merchantmen to a wolfpack between the 13th and 17th. On 10 May, Rhind departed New York again for North Africa, escorting a troopship convoy, and arrived at Algiers 2 June. For the next month she conducted ASW patrols and escorted ships along the North African coast.

U.S.S. Jenkins:
USS Jenkins (DD-447) off Mare Island on 15 Jan 1944
Namesake:Thornton A. Jenkins
Builder:Federal Shipbuilding and Drydock Company
Laid down:27 November 1941
Launched:21 June 1942
Commissioned:31 July 1942
Decommissioned:1 May 1946
Reclassified:DDE-447, 2 January 1951
Recommissioned:2 November 1951
Decommissioned:February 1969
Struck:2 July 1969
Fate:Sold for scrap, 17 February 1971
General characteristics
Class & type:Fletcher-class destroyer
Displacement:2,100 tons
Length:376 ft 4 in (114.71 m)
Beam:39 ft 5 in (12.01 m)
Draft:13 ft (4.0 m)
Propulsion:60,000 shp (45 MW);
geared turbines;
2 propellers
Speed:36 knots (67 km/h)
Range:6,500 nautical miles at 15 kt
  (12,000 km at 30 km/h)
Complement:273 officers and enlisted
  5 × 5 in (130 mm)/38 guns,
10 × 40 mm AA guns,
  7 × 20 mm AA guns,
10 × 21 in (530 mm) torpedo tubes,
  6 × depth charge projectors,
  2 × depth charge tracks

USS Jenkins (DD-447) was a World War II-era Fletcher-class destroyer in the service of the United States Navy, the second ship named after Rear AdmiralThornton A. Jenkins.
Jenkins was laid down by Federal Shipbuilding & Drydock Co.Kearny, New Jersey, 27 November 1941; launched 21 June 1942; sponsored by Mrs. Marion Parker Embry; and commissioned 31 July 1942, Lieutenant Commander H. F. Miller in command.

After a training period during the summer of 1942, Jenkins departed Casco BayMaine, 24 October as escort to a convoy headed for the North African campaign. She screened heavy ships during the shore bombardment, as the attack force arrived off Casablanca 8 November. Following the Naval Battle of Casablanca, the destroyer returned to New York 19 November to prepare for action in the Pacific.

Destroyer Milan

Destroyer Albatros

Destroyer L'Alcyon

Destroyer Brestois

Destroyer Boulonnais

Destroyer Fougueux

Destroyer Frondeur

de Lafond, Gervais, Contre-Amiral

Henry Kent Hewitt
Admiral H. Kent Hewitt (left) and Admiral S.S. Lewis (right) on board USS Ancon, September 1943.
BornFebruary 11, 1887
Hackensack, New Jersey
DiedSeptember 15, 1972 (aged 85)
Allegiance United States
Service/branch United States Navy
Years of service1906–1949
UnitAtlantic Fleet
Commands heldUSS Eagle
USS Cummings
USS Indianapolis
Amphibious Force, Atlantic Fleet
United States Eighth Fleet
U.S. Naval Forces Europe
Battles/warsWorld War I
*Battle of the Atlantic
World War II
*Battle of the Atlantic
*Battle of Casablanca
*Battle of Gela
*Battle of Salerno
*Operation Dragoon
Henry Kent Hewitt (February 11, 1887 – September 15, 1972)[1] was born inHackensackNew Jersey on February 11, 1887 and graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1906. He is best remembered as the United States Navy commander of amphibious operations in north Africa and southern Europe through World War II.

Hewitt was promoted to rear admiral in 1939, and commanded Atlantic Fleet Task Groups in neutrality patrols and convoys from 1941 until becoming Commander, Amphibious Force, Atlantic Fleet, in April 1942. This force, also called Task Force 34, became the U.S. component of the Operation Torch landings in November 1942. Hewitt was then assigned as Commander, U.S. Naval Forces, Northwest Africa Waters or COMNAVNAW. His flagships included USS Augusta while he commanded American naval forces at theBattle of Casablanca,[5] Monrovia while he commanded the western task force during the invasion of Sicily, and Ancon while he commanded all Allied amphibious forces during the invasion of Italy[6] and later Anzio landings and invasion of southern France.
Hewitt was awarded both the Army and Navy Distinguished Service Medals for his part in the invasion of North Africa. The Navy Distinguished Service Medal citation read:
The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 9, 1918, takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Distinguished Service Medal to Rear Admiral Henry Kent Hewitt (NSN: 0-5819), United States Navy, for exceptionally meritorious and distinguished services to the Government of the United States, in a duty of great responsibility, as Commander of the United States Naval Forces which escorted and supported the United States Army Forces in successful landings and occupation of certain objectives in French Morocco from 7 November 1942 to 15 November 1942. By his careful and exhaustive planning and his able and efficient conduct of escort and coverage of United States Army landing forces, Rear Admiral Hewitt contributed greatly to the successful accomplishment of one of three major objectives in the occupation of North Africa.[2]
The Army Distinguished Service Medal citation read:
The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 9, 1918, takes pleasure in presenting the Army Distinguished Service Medal to Rear Admiral Henry Kent Hewitt (NSN: 0-5819), United States Navy, for exceptionally meritorious and distinguished services to the Government of the United States, in a duty of great responsibility. Admiral Hewitt, in his capacity as Commander of the Amphibious Force Atlantic Fleet, and of Naval Task Force No. THIRTY-FOUR (34), with the highest type of skill and leadership, conducted his large fleet from the United States to the shores of French Morocco, through waters infested with hostile submarines, without loss. Through his care, foresight, and leadership, the forces he transported were landed 8 November 1942 on a hostile and unknown shore, during hours of darkness, in a heavy sea, at the proper time and places. In subsequent tactical action he handled his forces so as to prevent interference by hostile naval units with the landing of our forces as planned. His services contributed in marked degree to the success of the enterprise.

Career (France)
General characteristics
Class & type:Diane-class submarine
Displacement:surfaced 650 tons
submerged 810 tons
Length:64,4 m
Beam:6,2 m
Draught:4,3 m
Propulsion:2 x diesels (1,400 bhp)
2 x electric motors (1,000 shp)
Speed:surfaced 13,7 knots
submerged 9 knots
Méduse was a Diane-class submarine of the French Navy. She was launched on 26 August 1930 at Le Havre. Méduse was beached and lost on 10 November 1942 off Cape Blanc, after being attacked by Allied aircraft.

Career (France)
General characteristics
Class & type:Diane-class submarine
Displacement:surfaced 650 tons
submerged 810 tons
Length:64,4 m
Beam:6,2 m
Draught:4,3 m
Propulsion:2 x diesels (1,400 bhp)
2 x electric motors (1,000 shp)
Speed:surfaced 13,7 knots
submerged 9 knots
Amazone was a Diane-class submarine of the French Navy. She was launched on 28 December 1931. Amazone was decommissioned on 26 April 1946.

U.S.S. Brooklyn:
USS Brooklyn CL-40.jpg
USS Brooklyn in the Hudson River in 1939
Career (United States)
Laid down:12 March 1935
Launched:30 November 1936
Commissioned:30 September 1937
Decommissioned:3 January 1947
Fate:Sold to Chile in 1951
O'Higgins (CL-02).jpg
O'Higgins (CL-02)
Career (Chile)
Commissioned:9 January 1951
Fate:Sank in 1992 under tow to breakers
General characteristics
Displacement:9,700 tons
Length:608.3 ft (185.4 m)
Beam:61.7 ft (18.8 m)
Draft:24 ft (7.3 m)
Speed:33.6 kn (38.7 mph; 62.2 km/h)
Complement:868 officers and enlisted
Armament:15 × 6 in (150 mm)/47 cal guns, 8 ×5 in (130 mm)/25 cal AA guns[1]
USS Brooklyn (CL-40) was a light cruiser, the lead ship of her class of seven, and the third United States Navy ship to bear its name. Commissioned in 1937, she served in the Atlantic during World War II, as a convoy escort and as fire support for amphibious landings.
Decommissioned in 1947, she was transferred to the Chilean Navy in 1951, where she served for another 40 years. She sank under tow to a scrapyard in 1992.

On 24 October 1942, Brooklyn departed Norfolk, Virginia for North Africa. On 8 November, she bombarded shore installations to cover the Fedhala landing of Operation Torch. While engaged, she was hit by a dud projectile from a coastal gun, which damaged two of the cruiser's guns and wounded five of her crew. Following the Naval Battle of Casablanca Brooklyn departed Casablanca for the east coast on 17 November 1942.

U.S.S. Augusta:
USS Augusta (CA-31).jpg
USS Augusta (CA-31)
Career (United States)
Name:USS Augusta (CA-31)
Namesake:Augusta,Georgia, United States
Builder:Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co.
Laid down:2 July 1928
Launched:1 February 1930
Commissioned:30 January 1931
Decommissioned:16 July 1946
Struck:1 March 1959
Honours and
Bronze-service-star-3d.png Three Battle stars
Presidential flagship
Fate:Scrapped in 1960
General characteristics
Class & type:Northampton-class heavy cruiser
Displacement:9,200 tons
Length:570 ft (170 m) (waterline); 600 ft 3 in (182.96 m) (overall)
Beam:66 ft 1 in (20.14 m)
Draft:16 ft 6 in (5.03 m) (mean); 23 ft (7.0 m) (maximum)
Propulsion:4 × Parsons geared turbines,
8 × White-Forster boilers,
4 × shafts,
107,000 ihp (80,000 kW)
Speed:32.7 kn (37.6 mph; 60.6 km/h)
Range:13,000 nmi (15,000 mi; 24,000 km) @ 15 kn (17 mph; 28 km/h)
Capacity:Fuel oil: 1,500 tons
Officers: 105
Enlisted: 995[1]
Sensors and
processing systems:
Armament:9 × 8 in (200 mm)/55 cal guns (3x3), 8 × 5 in (130 mm)/25 cal AA guns, 32 × 40 mm AA guns, 27 × 20 mm AA cannons
  • Belt: 3 in (76 mm)
  • Deck: 2 in (51 mm) + 1 in (25 mm)
  • Gunhouses: 1.5 in (38 mm)
Aircraft carried:4 × SOC Seagull scout-observationseaplanes
Aviation facilities:2 × catapults
USS Augusta (CA-31) (originally CL-31) was a Northampton-class heavy cruiser of the United States Navy, notable for service in the Atlantic and Mediterranean during World War II, and for her occasional use as a presidential flagship carrying both Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman under wartime conditions (including at the Newfoundland Conference). According to the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships, she is named after Augusta, Georgia (rather than Augusta, Maine), and was sponsored by Miss Evelyn McDaniel of that city.

"PLAY BALL" – With the initial element of surprise, at 0000 GMT on 8 November 1942, Augusta, under Admiral Henry Kent Hewitt, reached the shores off Casablanca and the Task Force commenced disembarking the invasion troops under the command of General Patton who, at the time, was directing the assault from Augusta. The ship's war diary contains the following entry for that morning'sNaval Battle of Casablanca:
"The landing of our boats was heavily opposed by both shore installations and French troops and at 0617 the order to "Play Ball" was received – this meant that we were to carry out our Attack Plan and destroy to the best of our ability all resistance encountered."
At 0700 in Casablanca Harbor, five Vichy French submarines were preparing to stand out of the harbor to go on patrol. Merchantmen were beginning loading and unloading their cargos, and on board the cruisers and destroyers the crews were at work scrubbing decks.
At 0730, Ranger launched her first strike of bombers with F4F Wildcat escorts. Ten minutes later they were intercepted by French fighters, and in a dogfight 5 American and 7 French planes were shot down.
At 0804, as Ranger's bombers were releasing their loads, Massachusetts opened up with salvoes of her 16 inch guns on Casablanca's quays and ships. In the commercial harbor 10 cargo and passenger ships were sunk in 10 minutes, 40 crew killed and 60 wounded. Alongside the breakwater 3 Vichy submarines went down at their moorings. El Hank and Oukacha returned fire along with the battleshipJean Bart, which only had one operating turret. Wreckage hurled aboard from the quayside landed down on the turret.
At 0900, the Vichy 2nd Light Cruiser Squadron under Rear-Admiral Gervais de Lafond raised sufficient steam to put to sea to head for Fedala. As his flagshp Primauguet was undergoing minor engine repair, de Lafond hoisted his flag in the super-destroyer Milan. He steamed northwards at full speed hoping that the smoke and rising sun would blind the American naval forces. At 0920, Wildcats fromRanger strafed her decks. Every man on bridge, including Lafond, was wounded. The Vichy Boulonnais, was severely damaged. The commanding officer, Lieutenant Commander Martinant de Preneuf, was killed on Albatross. The Brestois' anti-aircraft battery was put out of action.
Primauguet was now off Fedala within range of AugustaBrooklyn to the north and MassachusettsTuscaloosa and Wichita from the northeast The first Vichy ship to sink was Fougueux, which was struck by shells from Massachusetts and TuscaloosaMilan's bow shattered and forward turret wrecked and she beached. Boulonnais was sunk by 8 16" rounds while she was carrying out a torpedo run, she turned turtle, and sunk with all hands. Primauguet, holed below her water line and with half of her engine room crew dead, dropped anchor near Milan. Brestois and Frondeur got back to harbor but capsized during the night. Finally, the destroyer Alcyon left harbor for survivors but was attacked by bombers and navy guns when she cleared the Casablanca breakwater. Albatross and Primauguet were hit again while trying to transfer 100 dead and 200 wounded.
For the next three days the Augusta was engaged in protecting the transport ships and the invasion troops, and combating enemy naval and coastal resistance. On 10 November 1942 the Augusta helped turn back the French units sortieing from Casablanca who were attempting to disrupt the landings. The ship's scout observation planes played an active role in spotting the accuracy of gun splashes from ship's gunfire against the enemy ships and coastal batteries. The Augusta was straddled by shells from Jean Bart, which had been earlier mistakenly reported to Hewitt to have been out of commission. Jean Bart was subsequently put out of action by return ship and carrier plane bombardment.
The invasion was successful and the ship and crew had the good fortune of being able to celebrate Thanksgiving Day 1942 with a special dinner with cuisine ala North Africa. A copy of the ship's program issued to the crew for that day is reproduced here. The message to the crew for that day summed up the feelings of all:
"In its five engagements, one against a shore battery and four against enemy naval forces, the ship rendered a good account of itself and contributed in a large degree to the final defeat of the opposing forces and the establishing of a second front, in North Africa. In the course of each engagement the ship was subjected to accurate and heavy fire by the opposing forces. And yet, although bracketed many times by the projectiles of the enemy, the ship miraculously escaped without damage to herself or injury to the crew. It should be apparent to all that consistent escape from harm was due not alone to skill, or to good luck, but unquestionably to the intervention of divine providence."

U.S.S. Wilkes:
Builder:Boston Navy Yard
Laid down:1 November 1939
Launched:31 May 1940
Commissioned:22 April 1941
Decommissioned:4 March 1946
Struck:16 September 1968
Fate:Sold for scrap, 29 June 1972
General characteristics
Class & type:Gleaves-class destroyer
Displacement:1,630 tons
Length:348 ft 3 in (106.15 m)
Beam:  36 ft 1 in (11.00 m)
Draft:  11 ft 10 in (3.61 m)
Propulsion:50,000 shp (37 MW);
4 boilers;
2 propellers
Speed:37.4 knots (69 km/h)
Range:6,500 nautical miles at 12 kt
  (12,000 km at 22 km/h)
Complement:16 officers, 260 enlisted
Armament:  5 × 5 in (127 mm) DP guns,
  6 × 0.5 in. (12.7 mm) guns,
  6 × 20 mm AA guns,
10 × 21 in (53 cm) torpedo tubes,
  2 × depth charge tracks
USS Wilkes (DD-441), a Gleaves-class destroyer, was the 3rd ship of theUnited States Navy to be named for Charles Wilkes, who was an American naval officer and explorer.
Wilkes was laid down on 1 November 1939 by the Boston Navy Yard, launched on 31 May 1940; sponsored by Mrs. Bessie Wilkes Styer; and commissioned on 22 April 1941, Lieutenant Commander J. D. Kelsey in command.

On 8 November 1942, Wilkes participated in the assault on Fedhala, French Morocco, and the resulting Naval Battle of Casablanca. Operating with TF 34, she was assigned duty as a control vessel during the first phase and as a fire support vessel during the second. The ship made radar contact on the surface, and a short while later her fire control party reported a dark object in the water. Wilkesdropped a standard nine-charge pattern. Thereafter, sound conditions were unfavorable due to the depth charge turbulence which was extreme in the shallow water 40 fathoms (73 m). After 16 minutes, the search was abandoned. No casualties or hits resulted from enemy action.
The next day, while steaming off Fedhala Point, Wilkes sighted a French destroyer emerging from Casablanca. She left her patrol station and proceeded toward the enemy ship. However, the shore battery on Pointe d'Oukach opened fire, and Wilkes was forced to discontinue her chase as the destroyer retreated back to Casablanca.
On 11 November, Wilkes received news that Casablanca had capitulated; and the destroyer then resumed patrolling the area around the convoy anchorage. At 19:58, a rocket burst near the convoy area; and, one minute later, Winooski reported being torpedoed. At 20:00, Joseph Hewes reported the same fate and sank in less than one hour. Bristol illuminated to open fire on a surfaced submarine and also made a depth charge attack with negative results.
The next day, Wilkes escorted Augusta into Casablanca. She then returned toward the patrol area and resumed patrolling her assigned station. Wilkes picked up a submarine contact at 2,300 yards and made a shallow depth charge attack, expending four 300-pound and two 600-pound charges without success. Wilkes then abandoned her search and continued her patrol. Little more than an hour later, two ships in the convoy anchorage area were torpedoed. A U-boat hit a third ship after 26 more minutes had passed. The convoy was ordered to weigh anchor and proceed to sea. Wilkes got underway and took station in the convoy's antisubmarine screen off its starboard bow. The convoy changed base course 20 degrees every 15 minutes for almost two hours to avoid detection.
On 15 November 1942, Electra, a cargo ship in another convoy, was torpedoed. Wilkes made a submarine contact at 1800 yards and made a depth charge attack with negative results. The destroyer then screened the damaged ship as she was being towed into Casablanca.
Two days later Wilkes rejoined the convoy as it steamed homeward and, on 30 November 1942, arrived at Norfolk. She spent the month of December conducting short escort and patrol missions in waters in New York and Casco Bay, Maine.

U.S.S. Swanson:
Builder:Charleston Navy Yard
Laid down:15 November 1939
Launched:2 November 1940
Commissioned:29 May 1941
Decommissioned:10 December 1945
Struck:1 March 1971
Fate:Sold for scrap, 29 June 1972
General characteristics
Class & type:Gleaves-class destroyer
Displacement:1,630 tons
Length:348 ft 4 in (106.17 m)
Beam:  36 ft 1 in (11.00 m)
Draft:  17 ft 6 in (5.33 m)
Propulsion:50,000 shp (37 MW);
4 boilers;
2 propellers
Speed:35 knots (65 km/h)
Range:6,500 nautical miles at 12 kt
  (12,000 km at 22 km/h)
Armament:  4 × 5 in (127 mm) DP guns,
  6 × 0.5 in. (12.7 mm) guns,
  6 × 20 mm AA guns,
10 × 21 in (53 cm) torpedo tubes,
  1 × depth charge projector,
  2 × depth charge tracks
USS Swanson (DD-443) was a Gleaves-class destroyer of the United States Navy, named for Secretary of the Navy Claude A. Swanson (1862–1939).
Swanson was laid down on 15 November 1939 by the Charleston Navy Yard. She was launched on 2 November 1940; sponsored by Mrs. Claude A. Swanson, widow of Secretary Swanson; and commissioned on 29 May 1941 with Lieutenant Commander M. P. Kingsley in command.

In October 1942, after amphibious training in Chesapeake BaySwanson joined the invasion fleet sailing for French North Africa. In the early morning of 8 November 1942, she lay close inshore to guide the landing craft to the beach at Fedhala. As she began to move further offshore at daybreak, the French shore batteries opened fire; and, for the next two hours, Swanson returned their fire in an effort to silence them and protect the transports and troops.
Shortly after 08:00, seven French destroyers sortied from Casablanca to attack the transports and opened fire on the nearest American ships, destroyers Ludlow (DD-438), Wilkes (DD-441) and SwansonLudlow was hit and forced to withdraw; but Swanson and Wilkesretired to join cruisers Augusta (CA-31) and Brooklyn (CL-40), which were steaming up to engage the French.
The covering force, led by battleship Massachusetts (BB-59), soon took over the action from the Augusta group; but, at 10:00,Swanson was once again in action, engaging three French destroyers which were edging along shore towards the transports. She soon directed her fire once again against the shore batteries and was then ordered seaward to protect the convoy area, ending her participation in the engagement.
German U-boats had not been present during the landings; but, on 11 November 1942, U-130 and U-173 arrived and soon sank four transports and damaged a destroyer and a tanker. On 16 November, the destroyer Woolsey (DD-437) gained sonar contact; and, after making several attacks which brought up oil and air bubbles, turned the contact over to Swanson and Quick (DD-490), which made additional attacks. The contact was evaluated at that time as a sunken wreck. Subsequent information revealed that it was the U-173, which indeed had been sunk.

U.S.S. Bristol:
Builder:Federal Shipbuilding and Drydock Company
Laid down:20 December 1940
Launched:25 July 1941
Commissioned:22 October 1941
Fate:Sunk by German submarine,
13 October 1943
General characteristics
Class & type:Gleaves-class destroyer
Displacement:1,630 tons (normal)
2,395 tons (full load)
Length:341 ft (104 m) (waterline),
348 ft 3 in (106.15 m) (overall)
Beam:36 ft (11 m)
Draft:11 ft 9 in (3.58 m) (normal),
17 ft 6 in (5.33 m) (full load)
Propulsion:four Babcock & Wilcox boilers;
General Electric geared turbines;
two shafts;
50,000 shp (37 MW)
Speed:37.5 knots (69 km/h),
33 kt (61 km/h) full load
Range:6,000 nautical miles at 15 kt
  (11,000 km at 28 km/h)
Complement:208 (276 war)
Armament:  4 × 5 in (127 mm) DP guns,
  1 × 1.1 in (28 mm) quad AA gun,
  6 × 0.5 in. (12.7 mm) guns,
10 × 21 in (53 cm) torpedo tubes
  (2×5, 10 torpedoes)
USS Bristol (DD 453) was a Gleaves-class destroyer of the United States Navy, named for Rear Admiral Mark Lambert Bristol. She was launched 25 July 1941 by Federal ShipbuildingKearny, New Jersey; sponsored by Mrs.Powell Clayton, and commissioned 22 October 1941, Lieutenant CommanderC. C. Wood in command. 22 Oct 1941 - Sep 22 1942 (Later RADM) CDR John Albert Glick 22 Sep 1942 - Oct 13 1943

During her first year of service Bristol operated as a patrol and convoy escort in the North Atlantic, making several trans-Atlantic voyages to Ireland. On 24 October 1942, she made her first voyage to North Africa, as part of theOperation Torch landings at FedhalaFrench Morocco (8–17 November). Returning to the United States in late November, she operated out of Norfolk, Virginia until 14 January 1943, when she again steamed to the Mediterraneanwhere, with the exception of one trip to the Panama Canal Zone in April 1943, she served exclusively until 13 October 1943.
While on duty in that area, she took part in Operation HUSKY (9 July – 17 August 1943) and the Salerno landings (9–21 September). On 11 September 1943, Bristol rescued 70 survivors from the torpedoed Rowan.
At 04:30 on 13 October 1943, while escorting a convoy to Oran, Algeria, Bristolwas struck on the port side at the forward engine room by a single torpedofrom U-boat U-371 commanded by Waldemar Mehl.[1] Bristol was broken in half by the single explosion. No fires resulted, but steam, electrical power, and communications were lost and the ship had to be abandoned. Eight minutes after the explosion the aft section sank, followed four minutes later by the foreparts. Bristol suffered the loss of 52 of her crew, The survivors were rescued by Trippe and Wainwright.

U.S.S. Rhind:
Career (US)
Namesake:Alexander Colden Rhind
Builder:Philadelphia Naval Shipyard
Laid down:22 September 1937
Launched:28 July 1938
Commissioned:10 November 1939
Decommissioned:26 August 1946
Struck:5 April 1948
Fate:sunk, 22 March 1948
General characteristics
Class & type:Benham-class destroyer
Displacement:2,350 tons (full)
Length:341 ft 3 in
Beam:35 ft 5 in
Draft:14 ft 4 in
Propulsion:50,000 shp,
Westinghouse Geared Turbines,
2 propellers
Speed:34 knots
Complement:184 officers and enlisted
Armament:4 × 5 in./38 guns (12 cm),
16 × 21 in. torpedo tubes
USS Rhind (DD-404) was a Benham-class destroyer in the United States Navy. She was named for Alexander Colden Rhind.
Rhind (DD-404) was laid down 22 September 1937 at the Philadelphia Navy Yard; launched 28 July 1938; sponsored by Mrs. Frederick S. Camp; and commissioned 10 November 1939, Commander G. R. Cooper in command.

Screening Massachusetts (BB-59) en route she arrived off the Moroccancoast on the night of 7 November. During the Naval Battle of Casablanca on the 8th she shelled Vichy vessels attempting to repel theAllied invasion of North Africa and blasted shore batteries. Through the 12th, she supported the troops ashore and screened larger ships in the Fedhala-Casablanca area.

La Grandiere:
Career (France)
Name:La Grandière
Namesake:Pierre-Paul de La Grandière
Builder:At. & Ch. de Provence, Port de Bouc
Launched:22 June 1939
Fate:scrapped 1959
General characteristics
Class & type:Bougainville-class aviso
Displacement:1,969 tonnes
Length:103.7 metres (340 ft)
Beam:12.98 metres (42.6 ft)
Draft:4.8 metres (16 ft)
Propulsion:Sulzer marine diesel engines, 3,200BHP
Speed:17 knots (31 km/h)
Complement:139 peacetime; 183 wartime
Armament:3 × 138mm guns model 1927 (single mountings)
4 × 40mm AA guns (single mountings)
11 × 20 mm machine guns (single mountings)
4 × anti-submarine mortars
capacity to carry 66 mines
La Grandière was an Bougainville-class aviso of the French Navy, designed to operate from French colonies in Asia and Africa. She was launched on 22 June 1939 as Ville d'Ys, but completed as La Grandière. She was scrapped in 1959.

La Gracieuse:
Class overview
Name:Élan class
Builders:Arsenal de Lorient
Ateliers et Chantiers de France, Dunkirk
Ateliers et Chantiers Dubigeon, Nantes
Ateliers et Chantiers de Provence, Port-de-Bouc[1]
Operators: French Navy
 Free French Naval Forces
 Regia Marina
 Royal Navy
In commission:1939–1965
General characteristics [2]
Displacement:630 tonnes (620 long tons) or 647 tonnes (637 long tons) standard[3]
890 tonnes (876 long tons) to 900 tonnes (886 long tons) full[3]
Length:78.30 m (256 ft 11 in) o/a[3]
73.81 m (242 ft 2 in) p/p[3]
Beam:8.70 m (28 ft 7 in)[3]
Draught:3.28 m (10 ft 9 in)[3]
Propulsion:2 × Sulzer diesel engines, 4,600 hp (3,430 kW), 2 shafts[3]
Speed:20 knots (37 km/h; 23 mph)[3]
10,000 nautical miles at 9 knots (17 km/h; 10 mph)
5,200 nautical miles at 15 knots (28 km/h; 17 mph)
3,000 nautical miles at 18 knots (33 km/h; 21 mph)[4]
Fuel capacity: 95 or 105 tonnes[4]
Complement:88 in peacetime;[4]
104 or 106 at war[4]
Armament:1 × single M1892 or M1932 100 mm/45 gun or 1 × twin M1926 90 mm/50 guns
1 × quad 13.2 mm/76 AA gun
2 × twin 13.2 mm/76 AA guns
2 depth charge throwers
1 depth charge rack
The Élan class was a class of French minesweeping avisos (Avisos dragueur de mines). Originally designed as minesweepers, they were never used in that role, instead being used mostly as escort vessels. Built between 1936 and 1940, the first came into service just before the outbreak of World War II.

  • La Gracieuse (A14/F746)
Built at the Ateliers et Chantiers de Provence, Port-de-Bouc, the ship was laid down in February 1938, launched on 30 November 1939[5] and commissioned in May 1940. From 30 June 1940 she was under the control of Vichy France, based in French Morocco. Captured by the Allies during the invasion of North Africa in November 1942, she joined the FNFL on 1 December 1942. She remained in service with the French Navy until decommissioned on 11 September 1958, sold[2][6] and scrapped.

Commandant Delage:
  • Commandant Delage (A12/F741)
Built at the Ateliers et Chantiers de France, Dunkirk, the ship was laid down in November 1936, launched on 25 February 1939[5] and commissioned in December 1939. In May 1940 she took part in the Dunkirk evacuation. From 25 June 1940 she was under the control of Vichy France, based in French Morocco. Captured by the Allies during the invasion of North Africa in November 1942, she joined the FNFL. She remained in service with the French Navy until decommissioned on 18 October 1960, sold[2][6] and scrapped.



Wilbur, Colonel:
William Hale Wilbur
Wilbur MOH ceremony.gif
Wilbur receiving the Medal of Honor from President Franklin Roosevelt. General Patton at right, General Marshall at back left.
BornSeptember 24, 1888
Palmer, Massachusetts
DiedDecember 27, 1979 (aged 91)
Place of burialWest Point Cemetery
AllegianceUnited StatesUnited States of America
Service/branchUnited States Army seal United States Army
Years of service1912 - 1947
RankUS-O7 insignia.svg Brigadier General
Commands held60th Infantry Regiment
Battles/warsWorld War I
World War II
*Operation Torch
AwardsMedal of Honor
Silver Star
Bronze Star
Legion of Merit (2)
Combat Infantryman Badge
Other workLaw Enforcement, Warden and a member of the Chicago Crime Commission
William Hale Wilbur (September 24, 1888–December 27, 1979) was a United States Army officer and a recipient of the United States military's highest decoration—the Medal of Honor—for his actions in World War II.

On November 8, 1942 Wilbur, now a colonel, participated in Operation Torch, the Allied invasion of French North Africa. He served on the staff of Major General George S. Patton as part of the Western Task Force, charged with capturing the city of CasablancaMorocco, from the Vichy French forces. Several American officers, including Wilbur, were chosen to carry messages to French commanders who were believed to be sympathetic towards the Allies. Wilbur was to contact Admiral François Michelier, commander of the French naval forces in Casablanca, and deliver to him a letter from General Patton. The Allies hoped to gain assistance from these French commanders, or at least convince them to lay down their arms and not oppose the invasion.[2]
After landing with the first assault wave in Fedala, Wilbur approached the French lines under a white flag of truce and was escorted to their division headquarters. Finding that his intermediate contact there had been arrested fortreason, he attempted to give the letter to the presiding general. The general refused to accept it, so Wilbur placed the letter on the man's desk and left. Before reaching his vehicle, he was stopped by another officer who offered to take him to Admiral Michelier. Upon arriving at the admiral's headquarters, he was turned away; Michelier refused to meet with him. Wilbur headed back to the American lines in Fedala.[2]
After arriving back at the Allied-held beachhead, Wilbur led an attack against a French artillery battery. One of the few French guns still firing in the area, the battery was targeting Allied ships off shore. Wilbur gathered four tanks and a company of infantry to assault the position. He personally accompanied the group, riding along on the lead tank, and commanded them in the successful capture of the battery.[2]
Wilbur was approved for the Medal of Honor two months later, on January 13, 1943.[1] The medal was presented to him by PresidentFranklin D. Roosevelt during a ceremony in Casablanca on January 22, 1943, in the midst of the Casablanca Conference. Also in attendance were General George Marshall, the Chief of Staff of the United States Army, and Major General Patton.

Gay, Colonel:
Hobart Raymond Gay
Hobart Gay.gif
Lieutenant General Hobart R. Gay
BornMay 16, 1894
Rockport, Illinois
DiedAugust 19, 1983 (aged 89)
El Paso, Texas
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service1917-1955
RankUS-O9 insignia.svg Lieutenant General
Commands heldU.S. Fifteenth Army
U.S. 1st Armored Division
Military District of Washington
1st Cavalry Division (United States)
U.S. VI Corps
U.S. III Corps
U.S. Fifth Army
Anti-aircraft and Guided Missile Center
Battles/warsWorld War II
Korean War
AwardsDistinguished Service Cross (2)
Distinguished Service Medal (2)
Legion of Merit (2)
Silver Star (3)
Bronze Star (2)
Other workSuperintendent of the New Mexico Military Institute
Lieutenant General Hobart Raymond Gay (May 16, 1894 – August 19, 1983),nicknamed "Hap", was a United States Army general.

General Gay was awarded the Silver Star in December 1942 for gallantry in action on November 8, 1942 at Casablanca. He was chief of staff of the I Armored Corps in North Africa at the time. He was promoted to Brigadier General June 24, 1943.

Bethouart, General:
Marie Émile Antoine Béthouart
Betouart IMG 0101.JPG
Born17 December 1889
Dole, JuraFrance
Died17 October 1982 (aged 92)
AllegianceFrance French Army
 Free French Forces
RankGénéral d'Armée
Commands heldI Corps
Battles/warsWorld War I
World War II
Other workSénateur
Marie Émile Antoine Béthouart (17 December 1889 – 17 October 1982) was a French Army general who served during World War I and World War II.
Born in Dole, Jura in the Jura Mountains, Béthouart graduated from Saint-Cyr military academy and served as a platoon leader in the 159th Alpine Infantry Regiment during World War I. After the First World War, he served as an advisor to the Yugoslavian Army and was named an instructor at the French Center for Mountain Warfare Tactics.
Promoted to Colonel in 1937, Béthouart was made a brevet Brigadier in January 1940. This promotion was made permanent in April 1941 and was followed by promotion to Major_General#France in December 1942. Béthouart was promoted again to Lieutenant General in November 1943, and then togeneral in 1948.

Béthouart commanded the French 1st Division of Chasseurs (elite light infantry) in the Norwegian campaign in 1940, serving in the area of Narvik.
Subsequently, Béthouart commanded the Casablanca Division of French forces in Morocco and assisted the Allies in rallying the French troops in Morocco to the Allied cause in November 1942. Arrested by Vichy Frenchofficials on 10 November 1942, Béthouart was liberated by the Allies on 14 November. Later, Béthouart served as the chief of the French military mission in Washington from December 1942 until November 1943 and as the Chief of Staff of the (French) Committee for National Defense from April 1944 until August 1944. In August 1944, Béthouart briefly served as the Chief of Staff ofArmée B, later known as the French First Army.
On 1 September 1944, Béthouart took command of the French I Corps in General de Lattre's Armée B. Béthouart commanded the corps with distinction for the remainder of the war in Europe. He fought with 140,000 men in Alsace but became famous for his part in the offensive in Germany with his corps becoming the first Allied troops to reach the Danube and enter Austria. His corps is credited with taking 101,556 Germans prisoner during the campaigns to liberate France and invade Germany.
During the postwar period, Béthouart served first as the chief of French occupation forces in Austria, and then as the High Commissioner for France in Austria between 1946 and 1950.
Béthouart subsequently served as a senateur for overseas French citizens from 1955 until 1971. He died in Fréjus on the 17 October 1982, and was buried in Rue.
In June 2003, amid pomp and ceremony, a bridge was named for him in Innsbruck.

U.S.S. Murphy:
USS Murphy
Career (United States)
Name:USS Murphy (DD-603)
Namesake:John McLeod Murphy
Builder:Bethlehem Shipbuilding CorporationStaten Island, New York
Laid down:19 May 1941
Launched:29 April 1942
Commissioned:25 July 1942
Decommissioned:9 March 1946
Struck:1 November 1970
Fate:Sold for scrap, 6 October 1972
General characteristics
Class & type:Benson-class destroyer
Displacement:1,620 tons
Length:348 ft 4 in (106.17 m)
Beam:36 ft 1 in (11.00 m)
Draught:17 ft 4 in (5.28 m)
Speed:37 kts (68.5 km/h)
Armament:4 x 5" (127 mm), 40mm., 5 x 21" (533 mm) tt., 4 dcp
USS Murphy (DD-603) was a Benson-class destroyer in the United States Navy during World War II. She was named for Lieutenant John McLeod Murphy.
Murphy was laid down 19 May 1941 by Bethlehem Steel CorporationStaten Island, New York; launched 29 April 1942; sponsored by Miss M. Elsie Murphy, daughter of Lieutenant Murphy; and commissioned 25 July 1942,Commander Leonard W. Bailey in command.

Following shakedown to Casco Bay, Maine, and escort duty off Halifax, Nova ScotiaMurphy joined the Center Attack Group, Western Naval Task Force, atNorfolk, Virginia, sailing in late October for Fedhala, Morocco, to participate inOperation Torch, the invasion of North Africa. Arriving off the landing beaches 7 November, the destroyer regulated the waves of landing craft hitting the beach the next day, then gave fire support off Point Blondin at which time the ship was hit in the after engine room during a furious exchange of fire with the Sherkhi battery, losing three men killed and 25 wounded. Immediate damage control measures prevented any serious damage and Murphy's crew effected repairs in time to join other fire support ships in silencing the Cape Blondin guns. Murphy remained off Fedhala through the Naval Battle of Casablanca, driving off an air attack 9 November, until sailing for Boston to complete repairs, arriving on the 24th.

U.S.S. Ludlow:
USS Ludlow 43-1287M.jpg
USS Ludlow on the day it was commissioned
Career (United States)
Name:USS Ludlow (DD-438)
Builder:Bath Iron Works
Laid down:18 December 1939
Launched:11 November 1940
Commissioned:5 March 1941
Decommissioned:22 January 1951
Struck:24 January 1951
Fate:transferred to Greece, 22 January 1951
Career (Greece)
Name:Doxa (D20)
Acquired:22 January 1951
Fate:Broken up for scrap in 1972
General characteristics
Class & type:Gleaves-class destroyer
Displacement:1,630 tons
Length:348 ft 3 in (106.15 m)
Beam:  36 ft 1 in (11.00 m)
Draft:  11 ft 10 in (3.61 m)
Propulsion:50,000 shp (37 MW);
4 boilers;
2 propellers
Speed:37.4 knots (69 km/h)
Range:6,500 nautical miles at 12 kt
  (12,000 km at 22 km/h)
Complement:16 officers, 260 enlisted
Armament:  5 × 5 in (127 mm) DP guns,
  6 × 0.5 in. (12.7 mm) guns,
  6 × 20 mm AA guns,
10 × 21 in (53 cm) torpedo tubes,
  2 × depth charge tracks
USS Ludlow (DD-438), a Gleaves-class destroyer, was the 3rd ship of theUnited States Navy to bear the name. The second and third Ludlow ships were named for Lieutenant Augustus C. Ludlow, second in command of the USSChesapeake. He was, like his captain, mortally wounded in their ship's engagement with HMS Shannon 1 June 1813, and died at Halifax, Nova Scotia, 13 June.
Ludlow was laid down 18 December 1939 by Bath Iron WorksBath, Maine. She was launched 11 November 1940, sponsored by Miss Frances Nicholson Chrystie, a descendant of Lieutenant Ludlow, and commissioned at Boston 5 March 1941, Lieutenant Commander Claude H. Bennett, Jr., (eldest son of Claude Bennett, General Manager of the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) in command.

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