USS Denver (CL-58)

USS Denver (CL-58)

The second USS "Denver" (CL-58) was launched 4 April 1942 by New York Shipbuilding Corp., Camden, N.J.; sponsored by Miss L. J. Stapleton, daughter of the Mayor of Denver; and commissioned 15 October 1942, Captain R. B. Carney in command.

"Denver" sailed from Philadelphia 23 January 1943, and arrived at Efate, New Hebrides, 14 February. The new cruiser first saw combat in the bombardment of Vila on Kolombangara in the Solomon Islands, on 6 March. During this action her force engaged and sank two Japanese destroyers, "Minegumo" and "Murasame", in the Battle of Blackett Strait. Continuing her operations in the Solomons, "Denver" joined the bombardment of Ballale Island on 29 June and 30 June in conjunction with the invasion landings on New Georgia, then remained in the area on patrol.

On the last day of October 1943 "Denver" sortied from Port Purvis with TF 39 to intercept an enemy force attempting to disrupt the landings at Cape Torokina, Bougainville. In the resulting battle of Empress Augusta Bay on the night of 1 November2 November, the American ships sank one enemy light cruiser and a destroyer and damaged two heavy cruisers and two destroyers, while the four other enemy ships broke off the action and retired. During the heavy firing "Denver" was hit by three 8 inch shells which fortunately did not explode. She shared in the Navy Unit Commendation awarded her division for its outstanding performance in this battle.

"Denver" covered the support landings on Cape Torokina on 10 November and 11 November 1943, and 2 days later during a heavy air attack was hit by an aerial torpedo which knocked out all power and communications and killed 20 of her men. She was towed by "Sioux" to Port Purvis and by "Pawnee" to Espiritu Santo for temporary repairs, then sailed to Mare Island for permanent repairs, arriving 2 January 1944.

"Denver" returned to the forward area at Eniwetok, arriving 22 June 1944. Eight days later she put to sea to screen carriers as they launched strikes to neutralize Japanese bases in the Bonins and Marianas during the invasion of the Marianas. She bombarded Iwo Jima 4 July, and after screening continued air assaults returned to Eniwetok 5 August.

"Denver" sailed from Port Purvis 6 September 1944 for the invasion of the Palaus. She bombarded Angaur Island from 12 September to 18 September, then covered a task unit engaged in minesweepmg, reconnaissance and underwater demolition operations before the landings on Ulithi 23 September. She returned to Manus on 28 September to prepare for the return to the Philippines.

"Denver" departed 12 October 1944 for the landings on Leyte, bombarding Suluan Island and Dulag to open the vast invasion fleet's way into Leyte Gulf, then sailed on to bombard the southern landing beaches. As the Japanese sent the major portion of their remaining combatant fleet south in a desperate attempt to break up the landings, "Denver's" group took station in Surigao Strait on 24 October to prevent the passage of the Japanese Southern Force into Leyte Gulf. Attacks were made by motor torpedo boats and destroyers stationed in advance of the battle line, and battleship "Yamashiro", heavy cruiser "Mogami", and destroyer Shigure were all that remained of the Japanese ships when "Denver" and the others of the battle line opened fire at 03:51. With three other cruisers, she made a material contribution to the cumulative gunfire which sank "Yamashiro". "Mogami" was later sunk by aircraft, and "Shigure" was the sole survivor of the mighty fleet which had sailed forth for this phase of the decisive Battle for Leyte Gulf. After this action, "Denver" sailed to aid in polishing off enemy cripples, aiding in sinking destroyer "Asagumo" early in the day on 25 October.

Continuing her service in Leyte Gulf, she fought off numerous attacks; during the one of 28 October a bomb released from one of the planes she shot down exploded nearby causing minor damage and slight flooding. She screened reinforcement landings in November and fought off a suicide attack on 27 November, suffering four men wounded from fragments of a bomb which exploded 200 yards off the starboard quarter. She joined the heavy covering group, for the Mindoro landings of 13 December to 16 December, then returned to Manus 24 December.

Returning to San Pedro Bay 3 January 1945 Denver sortied the next day to cover the landings at Lingayen Gulf. She remained in the Philippines to join in the consolidation of those islands. She covered the landings on Zambales on 29 January and 30 January, supported minesweeping near and landings on Grande Island; provided fire support at Nasugbu on 31 January; escorted a replenishment convoy to Mindoro between 1 February and 7 February; covered the Army landings around Mariveles Bay from 13 February to 16 February, rescuing the survivors of mined "La Vallette"; and supported the operations on Palawan and Mindanao Islands from February to May.

On 7 June 1945 "Denver" sailed from Subic Bay for the amphibious assaults on Brunei Bay, Borneo, and later at Balikpapan. She covered the preinvasion work of minesweeping units and underwater demolition teams, and provided fire support for the invading troops until returning to San Pedro Bay, Leyte, 4 July for brief overhaul.

"Denver" got underway for Okinawa 13 July 1945 to hunt Japanese shipping off the China coast until 7 August. She sailed from Okinawa 9 September to cover the evacuation of men of the Allied forces rescued from prison camps in the Wakayama area and covered the landing of occupation troops at Wakanoura Wan from 25 September to 20 October, when she sailed for home.

"Denver" arrived at Norfolk 21 November 1945 and after overhaul, reported to Newport, R.I., in January 1946 for duty training men of the Naval Reserve, and a good-will visit to Quebec, Canada. In April she arrived at Philadelphia Naval Shipyard where she was placed out of commission in reserve 7 February 1947. She was sold 29 February 1960.


In addition to the Navy Unit Commendation "Denver" received 11 battle stars for World War II service.

External links

* [ USS "Denver"]
* [ USS "Denver"]
* [ USS "Denver" Deck Log & War Diary, 1942-45]
* [ May 1943 Deck Log:] "Havannah Harbor"

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