Allied Warships

USS Juneau (CL 52)

Anti-aircraft cruiser of the Atlanta class

NavyThe US Navy
TypeAnti-aircraft cruiser
ClassAtlanta 
PennantCL 52 
Built byFederal Shipbuilding & Drydock Co. (Kearny, New Jersey, U.S.A.) 
Ordered25 Apr 1939 
Laid down27 May 1940 
Launched25 Oct 1941 
Commissioned14 Feb 1942 
Lost13 Nov 1942 
Loss position10° 33'S, 161° 03'E
History

USS Juneau (Capt. Lyman Knute Swenson, USN) was sunk by torpedoes off Guadalcanal. First hit by one torpedo from Japanese surface forces and again from Japanese submarine I-26 in position 10°33'S, 161°03'E while withdrawing from the battle scene along with the rest of the American force.

The second torpedo hit the same location as did the first, causing a terrific explosion breaking already damaged the ship in two and taking all but 10 of its crew down with it. Among the lost on the Juneau were the 5 Sullivan brothers and the Commanding officer.

When the Juneau was hit with the torpedo that was fired to finish off the USS San Francisco, 140 men were known to have survived the sinking. But due to the rest of the ships fleeing the area, only 10 were still alive when they were discovered after a week, including an officer with a bad leg wound.

 

Commands listed for USS Juneau (CL 52)

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and that we only list Commanding Officers for the duration of the Second World War.

CommanderFromTo
1T/Capt. Lyman Knute Swenson, USN14 Feb 194213 Nov 1942 (+)

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Notable events involving Juneau include:


14 Feb 1942
Commissioned on Saturday morning 14 February 1942 in Berth 16, alongside Pier 2, Brooklyn Navy Yard, New York. First and only commanding officer of USS Juneau (CL-52) was Captain Lyman Knute Swenson, USN (born 23 October 1892, Pleasant Grove, Utah). The first Executive Officer was Commander Walter Ellery Moore, USN (born 9 April 1900, California).

18 Jul 1942

Convoy WS 21P.

This convoy was assembled off Oversay on 18 July 1942.

The convoy was made up of the following troop transports;
Duchess of Atholl (British, 20119 GRT, built 1928), Duchess of York (British, 20021 GRT, built 1929), Empress of Japan (British, 26032 GRT, built 1930), Oronsay (British, 20043 GRT, built 1925) and Windsor Castle (British, 19141 GRT, built 1922).

On assembly of Oversay the convoy was escorted by the light cruiser HMS Orion (Capt. G.C.P. Menzies, RN) and the destroyers HMAS Nepal (Cdr. F.B. Morris, RAN), HrMs Tjerk Hiddes (Lt.Cdr. W.J. Kruys, RNethN), HMS Buxton (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) W.A. Moens, RN) and HMS Georgetown (Lt.Cdr. P.G. MacIver, RNR).

Around 0800O/20, HMS Buxton parted company with the convoy.

Around 2300O/20, HMAS Nepal parted company to proceed to Ponta Delgada, Azores, to fuel. She rejoined the convoy around 0150O/22.

Around 0800O/22, HrMs Tjerk Hiddes parted company with the convoy to proceed to Ponta Delgada, Azores, to fuel. She rejoined the convoy around 0800O/23.

Around 0730Z/25, the destroyer HMS Vimy (Lt.Cdr. H.G.D. de Chair, RN) joined the convoy.

The convoy arrived at Freetown on 27 July 1942.

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The convoy departed Freetown in the same composition on 1 August 1942. It was now escorted by the light cruiser HMS Orion, destroyers HMAS Nepal, HrMs Tjerk Hiddes, HMS Boreas (Lt.Cdr. E.L. Jones, DSC, RN) and the minesweeper / sloop Commandant Duboc.

In the morning of 5 August 1942, the American convoy AS 4 joined the convoy. This convoy was made up of the following transports;
American Manufacturer (American, 6678 GRT, built 1941), Empire Oriole (British, 6535 GRT, built 1941), Exhibitor (American, 6736 GRT, built 1940), Hawaiian Shipper (American, 7775 GRT, built 1941), Mormacdale (American, 6976 GRT, built 1942), Santa Cruz (American, 6925 GRT, built 1941), Seatrain Texas (American, 8108 GRT, built 1940), Tarn (Norwegian, 6850 GRT, built 1933) and Zaandam (Dutch, 19141 GRT, built 1922).

On this convoy joining the American escort, made up of the light cruiser Omaha (Capt. T.E. Chandler, USN), AA cruiser Juneau (Capt. L.K. Swenson, USN) and the destroyers USS Somers (T/Cdr. A.C. Wood, USN) and USS Davis (T/Cdr. M.R. Peterson, USN) then parted company.

At 0900Z/6, HMAS Nepal and HrMs Tjerk Hiddes parted company with the convoy and joined the RFA tanker Rapidol (2648 GRT, built 1917) and her escort, the corvette HMS Snowdrop (Lt. P.A. Tinne, RNVR). The destroyers fuelled from the Rapidol in the early hours of 7 August 1942 when off St. Helena. They rejoined the convoy around 1900A/10.

HMS Boreas also parted company on 6 August 1942. She was also to fuel from the Rapidol.

The convoy arrived at Capetown on 12 August 1942.

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The convoy, now made up of the Duchess of Atholl, Duchess of York, Empire Oriole, Empress of Japan, Exhibitor, Hawaiian Shipper, Oronsay, Tarn, Windsor Castle and Zaandam.

The convoy was now escorted by the heavy cruiser HMS Shropshire (Capt. J.T. Borrett, OBE, RN) and the destroyer HMS Duncan (Capt. H.St.L. Nicolson, DSO, RN).

Around 1700BC/19, the light cruiser HMS Orion and the destroyers HMAS Nepal and HrMs Tjerk Hiddes joined the convoy. HMS Shropshire then parted company. HMS Duncan had already parted company with the convoy earlier in the day.

Around 1645C/24, HMAS Nepal and HrMs Tjerk Hiddes parted company with the convoy to proceed to Kilindini.

The convoy was dispersed off Aden on 29 August 1942. (1)

13 Nov 1942
Four pharmacists from Juneau had been transferred earlier in the day to the USS San Francisco to operate on its mortally wounded Captain, Cassin Young. (2)

Sources

  1. ADM 199/1211
  2. Personal communication

ADM numbers indicate documents at the British National Archives at Kew, London.


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