NAVY PRESS RELEASE
About USS Tuscaloosa
October 27, 1944


The following is a transcription of an actual press release issued by the Navy Department as explained therein.  Although the copy of the original that I have is of poor quality, I have tried to maintain the appearance of the original as much as possible.


NAVY DEPARTMENT
HOLD FOR RELEASE IN MORNING NEWSPAPERS OF FRIDAY, OCTOBER 27, 1944 RADIO RELEASE: 9 P.M. (E.W.T.), Thursday October 26, 1944. (Memorandum to the press: Battle records of various U.S. Navy units, which are being released for publication on Navy Day, in- clude actions up to the beginning of the Marianas Islands opera- tions in the Pacific, or through the invasion of Southern France in the Atlantic and European Theaters. This may be sent through the mails as it is a press release.) THE U.S.S. TUSCALOOSA, HEAVY CRUISER
The Heavy Cruiser U.S.S. TUSCALOOSA has seen action in the Atlantic and the Mediterranean. She has engaged in patrol duty off Iceland and was a participant in the battle of Casablanca, the invasion of Normandy, the action off Cherbourg, and the assault on Southern France.
The TUSCALOOSA, under command of Captain Norman C. Gillette, U.S.N., of 7113 Harvard Avenue., Chicago, Ill., was at Hvalfjord Harbor, Iceland, at the time of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and remained there until the beginning of February 1942. She operated in the North Atlantic for the first half of 1942.
In August 1942 the TUSCALOOSA made a voyage to North Russia. She left Hvalfjordur in the latter part of July, and went to Greenock, Scotland.
In late October 1942 the TUSCALOOSA sailed form this country as one of the covering group, commanded by Vice Admiral (then Rear Admiral) Robert C. Giffen, U.S.N., of Annapolis, Maryland, in the MASSACHUSETTS, whose mission was to contain the French Fleet in Casablanca during the three simultaneous landings in Morocco.
In the battle of Casablanca which took place on November 8, 1942, the TUSCALOOSA, at 7:05 a.m., opened fire on French Naval Vessels in the harbor, using her main battery guns. At 7:19 a.m., she shifted fire to the batteries on Table D'Aukasha, silencing them, and at 8:10 a.m., commenced firing at targets on Point El Hank. During the time ships of the covering group were under heavy fire from the Jean Bart and from shore batteries. There were straddles but no direct hits on the TUSCALOOSA.
During the sortie of the French Fleet, the covering group fired from about 9:15 a.m., until 10:16 a.m., when the retreating enemy was engaged by the center fire support. When the French ships attempted to regain the harbor of Casablanca the TUSCALOOSA with other of our ships, stood in and took them under fire.
Although the TUSCALOOSA was under actual fire for three hours and eighteen minutes, she suffered no material damage in the battle of Casablanca.
That night and all the following day, the TUSCALOOSA patrolled the area between Cape Fedala and Casablanca. On November 10, 1942, she proceeded to sea and returned to Norfolk, Virginia. She re- turned to the West coast of Morocco in January, 1943, in company with a Task Force which included an Aircraft Carrier; the Tuscaloosa serving as a covering unit for the carrier.
From then until May of this year the TUSCALOOSA operated in the Atlantic for the most part in Northern Waters.
In mid-May, Captain John B.W. Waller, U.S.N., of Meadow Lodge, Manchester-by-the-sea, Massachusetts, Commanding, she joined a Task Group which was under command of Rear Admiral Morton L. Deyo, U.S.N., of Kittery Point, Maine, with the TUSCALOOSA as Flagship.
On June 3, 1944, this fire support group got underway for Normandy. On the 5th they stood across the channel to the Baie Dela Seine to take up a bombardment position North of Iles St. Marcouf. Shortly past midnight the TUSCALOOSA and other units entered the fire support channel leading to the fire support area. The Tuscaloosa at 5:50 a.m., opened fire with her main battery on her target, reported to be six 105 MM guns.
Next she opened fire with her 5-inch battery on three 75 MM guns in a fort on Ile De Tatihou. Many salvos were observed to land inside the fort. The Cruiser also opened main battery fire on four 105 MM Howitzers. At 10:20 a.m., the TUSCALOOSA was taken under fire by shore batteries, with improving accuracy. Ranging shots came within 300 yards and the ship was maneuvered radically to avoid salvos. Again, at 12:29 a.m., she was fired on by shore batteries. The first three shells landed 1,500, 1,000, and 500 yards short. The TUSCALOOSA at once began evasive tactics. This was none too soon, for the next salvo landed 300 yards astern in the water just vacated by the ship.
On the afternoon of June 7, 1944, the TUSCALOOSA fired on a defended post for 15 minutes, accomplishing her mission. Other tar- gets taken under fire that afternoon and evening were an infantry position, an observation post, a defended post, a battery of six 155 MM guns, a battery of two 105 MM Howitzers and two 75 MM guns. At 7:52 p.m., shore batteries opened fire on the TUSCALOOSA. The shells landed accurately in range, but off in deflection.
On June 8, 1944, she took position in her station and fired on various targets throughout the day, including defended posts and enemy bivouac areas. In the evening, she opened main battery fire on a defended post in Montebourg.
On the morning of June 9, 1944, she resumed fire on an enemy troop concentration in Montebourg. That afternoon Rear Admiral Deyo shifted his flag to the Quincy and ordered the TUSCALOOSA to Plymouth, England, to replenish ammunition. She was back in the assault area in the vicinity of Iles St. Marcouf on the evening of June 11, 1944. In the afternoon of the 12th she shelled the town of Quineville. Later she opened up on a rocket battery and destroyed it. The TUSCALOOSA remained in the assault area as a fire support ship until the 21st, when she departed for England.
After fueling and provisioning, the ship got underway on June 24, 1944, for the fire support area north of Cherbourg, to assist the U.S. Army in the assault on the port. At 10:10 a.m. on June 25, 1944, the TUSCALOOSA entered the fire support area and reported to her station. At 12:36 p.m., she opened fire on an active battery. Beginning at 1:12 p.m., the TUSCALOOSA came under accur- ate fire from shore batteries. Salvos landed astern of the QUINCY and just ahead of the TUSCALOOSA. Both ships maneuvered to avoid the close fire. At 1:23 p.m. a shell landed 100 yards dead ahead of the Tuscaloosa. The ships of the Task Force withdrew at 2:58 p.m., and proceeded to England.
The TUSCALOOSA proceeded to Palermo, Sicily. On August 13, 1944, the TUSCALOOSA got underway for Southern France, as the Flag- ship of a bombardment group which was commanded by Rear Admiral Deyo. At sea the group rendezvoused with a convoy and escorted it to the assault area.
In the early hours of August 15, 1944, the fire support ships made their way into the fire support area. At 7 a.m. the TUSCA- LOOSA commenced main battery firing on her target, believed to be four 105 MM guns, and ceased after ten minutes. She then opened drenching fire with her 5-inch battery on Ile D'OR. Meanwhile she brought the assault beach under heavy fire, with her main battery guns, and then shifted the fire behind the beach to four 88 MM guns. In the early afternoon she directed her fire on the second landing beach and gave it, and a hill behind, a heavy shelling. That evening she opened fire with her 5-inch battery on an enemy plane of the JU-88 type.
On August 16, 1944, the TUSCALOOSA fired on enemy trucks and light field guns, with success. In the afternoon she brought the area west of Cannes under observation. That night there was a resumption of air attacks. Between 8:50 and 8:57 p.m., the TUSCALOOSA fired on two JU-88's and a DO-217.
On August 17 and 18, 1944, the TUSCALOOSA operated in the Golfe De Frejus and the Golfe De Napoule. While in the latter she was fired on by a shore battery, on the afternoon of the 17th. There were near hits close aboard to port and starboard. The TUSCALOOSA took the gun emplacement under fire with her 5-inch battery. The following afternoon while in the Golfe De Napoule she was again fired on by a shore battery. This time she silenced it with her 5-inch guns.
Between August 21-26, 1944, the TUSCALOOSA operated in the area off St. Raphael, Cannes, and Nice, in support of the Right Flank of the U.S. Army, delivering fire support as required.


Notes:

References to 75MM, 105MM and 155MM weapons relate to weapons firing shells with a diameter of approximately 3 inches, 4 inches, and 6 inches.

Howitzers are weapons firing projectiles with a moderately arching trajectory and a low muzzle velocity.  They are distinguished from mortars which fire with a high arching trajectory and from guns which fire with a relatively flat trajectory and a high muzzle velocity.

The JU-88 and DO-217 are both German aircraft. The JU-88 (made by Junkers) was a versatile aircraft which had the roles of dive and torpedo bomber, reconnaissance, night and day fighter and anti-tank.  The DO-217 (made by Dornier) was both a bomber and a night fighter.


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