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USS Raleigh (CL-7)

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Cruiser USS Raleigh at Pearl Harbor

USS Raleigh with barge lashed to side to keep her afloat

The U.S. Navy cruiser, USS Raleigh, was berthed on the north side of Ford Island, ahead of the obsolete battleship, USS Utah on December 7, 1941. These two ships were berthed at this location in place of the aircraft carriers Lexington and Enterprise, who were away at the time of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Not finding the aircraft carriers in their berths, the Japanese pilots targeted the Raleigh and Utah.

According to the action report by R.E. Simons, at 7:55 AM, an explosion was felt in the Raleigh and general quarters was called. Shortly after, her gun crews opened fire on the Japanese aircraft with 3"/50 caliber, 1.1" and .50 caliber guns. The ship had been struck by a torpedo, and flooding caused her to began to list. Counter-flooding was initiated to prevent her from capsizing.

USS Raleigh damaged at Pearl Harbor

A bombing attack began around 9:00 AM and the gun crews resumed fire, reporting hits which destroyed five Japanese aircraft. During this attack, one bomb hit the Raleigh passing through three decks, while several others fell around her. To keep the Raleigh afloat volunteers went below to raise steam and get pumps going. Airplanes, torpedo tubes, anchors and other items were thrown overboard to lessen her weight. Eventually, the Raleigh was tied to a barge containing salvage pontoons, to her to keep her afloat as seen in the photos. In the top photo the capsized Utah can be seen to the stern of the Raleigh.

The USS Raleigh sustained no deaths during the attack and only a few were wounded. By July 1942, she had been repaired and returned to active duty. For remainder of World War II she served Aleutian waters finishing the last two months of the war in on a training cruise in the Caribbean.

"Raleigh hit by one aircraft torpedo amidships on port side which flooded out the forward half of the machinery plant. The ship was also hit by one bomb (probably 500 pounds) which passed through three decks and out the ship's side, and finally exploded about fifty feet away.

The damage from the explosion was not extensive, but together with the hold made in the side, caused serious flooding on the port side aft. This flooding was out of all proportion to the extent of damage and resulted from inability to close armored hatches tightly against the water head.


The bomb struck only a few feet abaft the gasoline stowage. Permanent repairs to the hull are being completed at Pearl Harbor, T.H.

The vessel will return to Mare Island about the middle of February for permanent repairs to machinery and power leads, this being necessitated primarily by replacement of one boiler and the cast iron turbine casings of engine No. 4." - Damage report on USS Raleigh Enclosure C to CINCPAC action report Serial 0479 February 15, 1942.

U.S. Navy photographs, National Archives Collection.


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