USS Milwaukee, World War II configuration
|Builder:||Seattle Construction and Drydock Company|
|Laid down:||13 December 1918|
|Launched:||24 March 1922|
|Commissioned:||20 June 1923; as Murmansk 20 April 1944|
|Decommissioned:||6 March 1949|
|Fate:||sold for scrapping 10 December 1949|
|Class and type:||Omaha-class light cruiser|
|Displacement:||7,050 long tons (7,160 t) (standard)|
|Length:||555 ft 6 in (169.32 m)|
|Beam:||55 ft 4 in (16.87 m)|
|Draft:||13 ft 6 in (4.11 m)|
|Installed power:||90,000 shp (67,000 kW)|
|Propulsion:||4 × geared steam turbines4 × shafts|
|Speed:||34 kn (39 mph; 63 km/h)|
|Complement:||458 officers and enlisted|
|Armament:||12 × 6 in (150 mm)/53 cal guns (2x2, 8x1)|
|Aircraft carried:||2 × floatplanes|
Launching of MilwaukeeUSS Milwaukee (CL-5) was an Omaha-class light cruiser in the United States Navy. She was the third Navy ship named for the city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Late in World War II, she was temporarily transferred to the Soviet Navy and commissioned as Murmansk.
Milwaukee was laid down on 13 December 1918 by Seattle Construction & Dry Dock Company, Seattle, Washington, launched by Todd Dry Dock & Construction Company, Seattle on 24 March 1921; sponsored by Mrs. Rudolph Pfeil; and commissioned on 20 June 1923, Captain William C. Asserson in command.
Shakedown took the new cruiser to Australia via Hawaii, Samoa, Fiji Islands, and New Caledonia, for the Pan-Pacific Scientific Congress which opened in Sydney on 23 August. Fitted with the finest sonic depth–finding equipment, Milwaukee gathered knowledge of the Pacific on route. The Milwaukee Seamounts in the Northern Pacific are named after a set of soundings taken by Milwaukee in 1929.
Although she served primarily in the Pacific during the decades between the world wars, the highlights of her peacetime service came in the Caribbean. On 24 October 1926, Milwaukee and Goff arrived at the Isle of Pines from Guantanamo Bay to assist victims of a fierce hurricane which had devastated the island four days before. The American ships established a medical center at the city hall in Nueva Gerone, furnished the stricken area over 50 short tons (45 t) of food, replaced telephone lines which had been swept away, and maintained wireless communication with the outside world. The efficient and tireless labors of the crews won the respect and gratitude of everyone in the area.
Over 10 years later, while steaming north of Hispaniola and Puerto Rico on 14 February 1939, Milwaukee recorded the greatest depth yet discovered in the Atlantic. The spot—which has a depth of 30,246 ft (9,219 m)—is now known as the "Milwaukee Deep".
U.S. presence in the Orient had, at this time, been being challenged. Japanese aircraft had bombed the gunboat Panay in the Yangtze River near Hankow, China on 12 December 1937, testing American determination to remain in the Orient. Milwaukee—as part of the U.S. Navy's response to the challenge—got underway from San Diego on 3 January 1938 on a cruise to the Far East, which took her to Hawaii, Samoa, Australia, Singapore, the Philippines, and Guam. As tension abated she returned home on 27 April.
Milwaukee, Captain Forrest B. Royal commanding, was in New York Navy Yard for overhaul when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. Departing New York on 31 December 1941, Milwaukee escorted a convoy to the Caribbean and arrived at Balboa, Panama on 31 January 1942, transited the Panama Canal, and escorted eight troop transports to the Society Islands. Returning to the Atlantic through the canal on 7 March, she stopped at Trinidad en route to Recife, Brazil, where she joined the South Atlantic Patrol Force.
For the next two years, Milwaukee made repeated patrols from ports of Brazil, steaming from the border of French Guiana down to Rio do Janeiro, and across the Atlantic Narrows almost to the African coast. On 19 May, while steaming from Ascension Island to Brazil, she received an SOS from the Brazilian cargo ship SS Commandante Lyra, which had been torpedoed by the Italian submarine Barbarigo off the coast of Brazil. When she reached the scene that morning, Milwaukee found Commandante Lyra abandoned, burning forward and aft, and listing to port.
The destroyer Moffett picked up 16 survivors and Milwaukee rescued 25 others, including the ship's master. The cruiser's sister ship Omaha and the destroyer McDougal were soon on the rescue scene. While Milwaukee refueled at Recife, Omaha's salvage party jettisoned deck cargo and ready ammunition for deck guns from the burning Brazilian merchantman. Milwaukee immediately returned to the scene. Her salvage party also jettisoned cargo to lighten the cargo ship. The fires were brought under control, and Commandante Lyra was towed to Fortaleza, Brazil, arriving on 24 May.
Milwaukee put out of Recife on 8 November in company with her sister Cincinnati and the destroyer Somers, seeking German blockade runners. On 21 November, the task force encountered a strange ship which turned out to be the German blockade runner Annaliese Essenberger. Milwaukee challenged the unidentified ship, who replied with the call letters "L-J-P-Y", the international call of Norwegian freighter Sjhflbred. The Allied secret identification signal brought no reply. The two American cruisers maneuvered to cover Somers, chasing the enemy into a small rain squall. At 06:51, when Somers had closed to 4 mi (3.5 nmi; 6.4 km), smoke and flames poured from the enemy, who lowered boats. Minutes later, the first of three tremendous explosions hurled wreckage hundreds of feet in the air and the freighter settled by the stern. Then, the Norwegian flag was hauled down and the German merchant swastika flag was raised at the main. The German motorship heeled over to port and sank by the stern. Milwaukee took aboard 62 prisoners from four liferafts.
On the morning of 2 May 1943, while Milwaukee was under repairs at Recife, her crew showed great initiative and skill fighting a fire on tanker SS Livingston Roe which threatened the harbor.
Milwaukee continued her South Atlantic patrols until 8 February 1944, when she departed Bahia, Brazil, for the New York Navy Yard. She stood out from New York on 27 February as a unit of the ocean escort for a convoy which reached Belfast, Northern Ireland on 8 March.
On 29 March, Milwaukee put to sea from Belfast, en route to Murmansk, northwest Russia, with Allied convoy JW58. A German submarine was sunk during the night. The following day enemy planes shadowing the convoy were shot down by fighter planes launched from the British escort carrier HMS Activity. A wolfpack of German submarines tried to penetrate the convoy screen during the night of 31 March but was driven off. The following night, seven German submarines shadowed the convoy, but they were also driven off with the possible loss of one enemy submarine. That morning, carrier-based planes reported sinking a German submarine 10 mi (8.7 nmi; 16 km) astern.
On 4 April, four escorts of the Soviet Navy joined the convoy now headed for Archangelsk. A few hours later Milwaukee left the convoy and headed for Murmansk and the Kola Inlet. There on 20 April, the ship was transferred on loan to the Soviet Union Northern Fleet in lieu of the Soviet share of the surrendered Italian warships. She commissioned in the Soviet Navy as Murmansk and performed convoy and patrol duty in the Arctic Ocean for the remainder of the war. Afterward, she became a training ship and participated in the 1948 fleet maneuvers. Transferred back to the U.S. on 16 March 1949, Milwaukee—the first of 15 American warships returned by the USSR—entered Philadelphia Naval Shipyard on 18 March, and was sold for scrapping to the American Shipbreakers, Inc., in Wilmington, Delaware on 10 December.