USS New Orleans (CA-32)

New Orleans undergoing trials, following the replacement of her bow. US Navy photo in the collection of the Naval History & Heritage Command.

Nation
Ship Class
Ship Type
Laid Down
1931
Launched
1933
Commissioned
1934
Decommissioned
1947
AD/BC
AD
History

USS New Orleans (CA-32) was the lead ship of the final US class of Treaty Cruisers. Originally ordered as part of the Portland-class, she was reordered to the follow on Tuscaloosa design before she was laid down. Armed with nine 8" (203mm) guns, she was laid down in March, 1931, and commissioned 15 February, 1934. Alternating between the Atlantic and Pacific during the 1930s, New Orleans was at Pearl Harbor on 7 December, 1941, undergoing engine repair, but avoided major damage. Following the attack, she transported troops to American outposts before heading to San Francisco for completion of the engine work, and was part of Lexington's screen at Coral Sea, Enterprise's at Midway, and Saratoga's at the Eastern Solomons. At the Battle of Tassafaronga, she was caught by a Japanese Type 93 torpedo in her forward magazine, which resulted in the detonation of her forward magazine, and the complete loss of her bow. After basic repairs, New Orleans limped to Sydney stern-first, and was fitted with a temporary bow, before proceeded to Puget Sound for full repairs. New Orleans rejoined the fleet in September, 1943, escorting the fleet carriers and providing gunfire support against shore targets. During the Action off Samar, on 25 October, 1944, New Orleans was able to bring her guns to bear on several Japanese ships, including the carrier Chiyoda. New Orleans returned home for another overhaul, keeping her out of action until April, when she rejoined the fleet off Okinawa. After supporting occupation and internment operations in China and Korea, New Orleans participated in Operation Magic Carpet, the return home of mass numbers of discharged troops. She was decommissioned 10 February, 1947, and sold for scrap in 1959.

Bonus Photos

New Orleans, down by what remains of her bow, after the Battle of Tassafaronga. US Navy photo.

Bonus Information

Fun Fact: It was New Orleans' crew at Pearl Harbor that inspired the wartime song "Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition".