Battleship USS TEXAS - An ambition fulfilled!

Discussion in 'War at Sea' started by The Cooler King, Aug 12, 2017.

  1. The Cooler King

    The Cooler King Elite Member

    The Battleship USS Texas.jpg Recently I was fortunate to tick off a long held "bucket list" ambition.

    To visit the mighty USS Texas which is a museum ship at the San Jacinto State Park outside of Houston, Texas.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2017
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  2. The Cooler King

    The Cooler King Elite Member

    USS Texas (BB-35), the second ship of the US Navy named in honor of the state of Texas, is a New York Class Battleship. The ship was launched on 18 May 1912 and commissioned on 12 March 1914.

    She is the last Surviving Dreadnought.
     

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  3. The Cooler King

    The Cooler King Elite Member

    Soon after her commissioning, Texas saw action in Mexican waters following the "Tampico Incident" and made numerous sorties into the North Sea during WW1. When the United States formally entered WW2 in 1941, Texas escorted war convoys across the Atlantic, and later shelled Axis-held beaches for the North African Campaign and the Normandy Landings before being transferred to the Pacific Theatre late in 1944 to provide naval gunfire support during the battles of Iwo-Jima and Okinawa.
     

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  4. The Cooler King

    The Cooler King Elite Member

    This is her Bridge.
     

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  5. The Cooler King

    The Cooler King Elite Member

    Here are some other interior shots that I took:-
     

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  6. The Cooler King

    The Cooler King Elite Member

    The Heavy AA Guns up close-
     

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  7. The Cooler King

    The Cooler King Elite Member

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  8. The Cooler King

    The Cooler King Elite Member

    On 23 October 1942, Texas embarked upon her first major combat operation when she sortied with Task Group 34.8 (TG 34.8), the Northern Attack Group for Operation Torch, the invasion of North Africa. The objective assigned to this group was Port Lyautey in French Morocco. The warships arrived off the assault beaches near the village of Mehedia early in the morning of 8 November and began preparations for the invasion. Texas transmitted Lt. General Dwight D. Eisenhower's first "Voice of Freedom" broadcast, asking the French not to oppose Allied landings on North Africa. When the troops went ashore, Texas did not go into action immediately to support them. At that point in the war, the doctrine of amphibious warfare was still embryonic. Many Army officers did not recognize the value of prelanding bombardments. Instead, the Army insisted upon attempting a landing by surprise. Texas entered the battle early in the afternoon when the Army requested her to fire upon a Vichy French Army ammunition dump near Port Lyautey. One more gunfire mission was provided on the 10th before the cease fire on 11 November. Thus, unlike in later operations, she expended only 273 rounds of 14-inc shells and 6 rounds of 5-inch shells. During her short stay, some of her crewmen went ashore to assist in salvaging some of the ships that had been sunk in the harbor. On 16 November, Texas departed North Africa for the East Coast of the United States in a task force along with Savannah, Sangamon, Kennebec, four transports, and seven destroyers.
     

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  9. The Cooler King

    The Cooler King Elite Member

    Throughout 1943, Texas carried out the familiar role of convoy escort. With New York as her home port, she made numerous transatlantic voyages to such places as Casablanca and Gibraltar, as well as frequent visits to ports in the British Isles.

    At 03:00 on 6 June 1944, Texas and the British cruiser Glasgow entered the Omaha Western fire support lane and into her initial firing position 12,000 yd (11,000 m) offshore near Pointe du Hoc at 04:41 as part of a combined total US-British flotilla of 702 ships, including seven battleships and five heavy cruisers. The initial bombardment commenced at 05:50, against the site of six 15-centimetre (6 in) guns, atop Pointe du Hoc.[11] When Texas ceased firing at the Pointe at 06:24, 255 14-inch shells had been fired in 34 minutes—an average rate of fire of 7.5 shells per minute, which was the longest sustained period of firing for Texas in World War II. While shells from the main guns were hitting Pointe du Hoc, the 5-inch guns were firing on the area leading up to Exit D-1, the route to get inland from western Omaha. At 06:26, Texas shifted her main battery gunfire to the western edge of Omaha Beach, around the town of Vierville. Meanwhile, her secondary battery went to work on another target on the western end of "Omaha" beach, a ravine laced with strong points to defend an exit road. Later, under control of airborne spotters, she moved her major-caliber fire inland to interdict enemy reinforcement activities and to destroy batteries and other strong points farther inland.

    By noon, the assault on Omaha Beach was in danger of collapsing due to stronger than anticipated German resistance and the inability of the Allies to get needed armor and artillery units on the beach. In an effort to help the infantry fighting to take Omaha, some of the destroyers providing gunfire support closed near the shoreline, almost grounding themselves to fire on the Germans. Texas also closed to the shoreline; at 12:23, Texas closed to only 3,000 yd (2,700 m) from the water's edge, firing her main guns with very little elevation to clear the western exit D-1, in front of Vierville. Among other things, she fired upon snipers and machine gun nests hidden in a defile just off the beach. At the conclusion of that mission, the battleship attacked an enemy anti-aircraft battery located west of Vierville.

    On 7 June, the battleship received word that the Ranger battalion at Pointe Du Hoc was still isolated from the rest of the invasion force with low ammunition and mounting casualties; in response, Texas obtained and filled two LCVPs with provisions and ammunition for the Rangers.

    Down the Barrels copy.jpg .
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2017
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  10. The Cooler King

    The Cooler King Elite Member

    On the morning of 25 June Texas, in company with Arkansas, Nevada, four cruisers and eleven destroyers, closed in on the vital port of Cherbourg to suppress the fortifications and batteries surrounding the town while the US Army's VII Corps attacked the city from the rear. While en route to Cherbourg, the bombardment plan was changed and Task Group 129.2 (TG 129.2), built around Arkansas and Texas, was ordered to move 6 mi (9.7 km)[clarification needed] to the east of Cherbourg and engage the guns of Battery Hamburg, a large shore battery composed of four 24-centimetre (9 in) guns.[52][53][54] At 12:08, Arkansas was the first to fire at the German positions, while the German gunners waited for Arkansas and Texas to be well in range to return fire. At 12:33, Texas was straddled by three German shells; five minutes later Texas returned fire with a continuous stream of two-gun salvos. The battleship continued her firing runs in spite of shell geysers blossoming about her and difficulty spotting the targets because of smoke; however, the enemy gunners were just as stubborn and skilled. At 13:16, a German 24-cm shell skidded across the top of her conning tower, sheared the top of the fire control periscope off (the periscope remains fell back into the conning tower and wounded the gunnery officer and three others), hit the main support column of the navigation bridge and exploded. The explosion caused the deck of the pilot house above to be blown upwards approximately 4 ft (1.2 m), wrecked the interior of the pilot house, and wounded seven. Of the eleven total casualties from the German shell hit, only one man succumbed to his wounds—the helmsman on duty, Christen Christensen] Texas's commanding officer, Captain Baker, escaped unhurt and quickly had the bridge cleared. The warship herself continued to deliver her 14-inch shells in two-gun salvos and, in spite of damage and casualties, scored a direct hit that penetrated one of the heavily reinforced gun emplacements to destroy the gun inside at 13:35

    Main Guns of the USS Texas.jpg


    At 14:47, an unexploded 24-cm shell was reported.[58] The shell crashed through the port bow directly below the Wardroom and entered the stateroom of Warrant Officer M.A. Clark, but failed to explode. The unexploded shell was later disarmed by a Navy bomb disposal officer in Portsmouth and is currently displayed aboard the ship. Throughout the three-hour duel, the Germans straddled and near-missed Texas over sixty-five times, but she continued her mission firing 206 14-inch shells at Battery Hamburg until ordered to retire at 15:01
     
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  11. The Cooler King

    The Cooler King Elite Member

    She arrived off Iwo Jima on 16 February 1945, three days before the amphibious landings began. She spent just three days pounding the Japanese defenses on Iwo Jima in preparation for the landing of three Marine Corps Divisions. After the Marines stormed the beaches on 19 February, Texas switched to providing naval gunfire support for them. "On-call fire" in response to requests from Marine units continued through 21 February.

    Though the island of Iwo Jima was not declared to be captured until 16 March, Texas departed from the Volcano Islands on 7 March,[64] and returned to Ulithi Atoll to prepare for the invasion of Okinawa (Operation Iceberg). She departed from Ulithi with Task Force 54, the gunfire support unit, on 21 March, and arrived in the Ryukyu Islands on the 26th. Texas moved in close to Okinawa and began her prelanding bombardment that same day. For the next six days, she fired multiple salvos from her main guns to prepare the way for several Army and Marine divisions to make their amphibious landings on 1 April.

    Each evening, Texas retired from her bombardment position close to Okinawa, but returned the next morning to resume her bombardments. The enemy ashore, preparing for a defense-in-depth strategy as at Iwo Jima, made no answer. Only air units provided a response, as several kamikaze raids were sent to harass the bombardment group. Texas escaped damage during those attacks. On 1 April, after six days of aerial and naval bombardment, the ground troops went ashore, and for almost two months, Texas remained in Okinawan waters providing gunfire support for the troops and fending off the enemy aerial assault. In performing the latter mission, she claimed one kamikaze kill on her own and claimed three assists. On 14 May she departed Okinawa for the Philippines.[
     

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  12. The Cooler King

    The Cooler King Elite Member

    Museum Ship.

    On 17 April 1947, the Battleship Texas Commission was established by the Texas Legislature to care for the ship. The $225,000 necessary to pay for towing her from Baltimore to San Jacinto was the Commission's first task. On 17 March 1948, Texas began her journey to her new anchorage along the busy Houston Ship Channel near the San Jacinto Monument, at San Jacinto State Park, arriving on 20 April.

    Texas was the first and oldest of the eight US battleships that became permanent floating museums. USS Texas Plaque.jpg
     
  13. The Cooler King

    The Cooler King Elite Member

    The location was chosen at it of the greatest historical importance for the state of Texas. The Ship is located adjacent to the final surrender and battle of General Santa Ann in the Texan Wars of Independence. Close by is the amazing San Jacinto Monument which commemorates this victory. San 2.jpg San 2.jpg
     
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  14. The Cooler King

    The Cooler King Elite Member

    The view from the Top is impressive and shows the Location of the USS Texas in Berth. The USS Texas in Dock 2.jpg
     
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  15. Dave55

    Dave55 Very Senior Member

    You lucky dog. Always wanted to see USS Texas.
     
  16. The Cooler King

    The Cooler King Elite Member

    Hope that you enjoyed my pictures and History. It really was something very special.
    Thankfully work is now underway to preserve her further for future generations!.

    One last image that I took which I have "aged" :) The USS Texas.jpg
     
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  17. Puttenham

    Puttenham Well-Known Member

    Great photos, thanks.

    I have been aboard as well a number of years ago.


    PUT
     

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