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USS Phoenix CL-46

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USS Phoenix at Pearl Harbor

The USS Phoenix proceeding along Battleship row

On December 7, 1941, the light cruiser USS Phoenix, was moored by herself in berth C-6, northeast of Ford Island, in Pearl Harbor. According to the World War II action reports of February 15, 1942, she sighted planes attacking from the north end of Ford Island at 7:55AM. At 8:06AM the Phoenix sent a radio signal to ships in sector four to prepare to get underway. The Phoenix's machine guns then opened fire on the attacking aircraft and shortly after her anti-aircraft guns commenced firing. By 8:45 she was ready to get underway.

The Phoenix continued to fire periodically from 9:00-09:30AM on the Japanese planes which came in at a low level for bombing attacks on the Navy Yard and the ships berthed there. She finally got underway, but shortly after, received orders not to sortie and returned to her berth. At approximately 10:30AM the Phoenix got underway again and started out of the north channel, but received another message from Cincpac that she was not to sortie. She turned around and returned to berth C-6.

Finally, the Phoenix received orders to proceed down the south channel and got underway to join a task force of cruisers and destroyers to search for the Japanese fleet. A combined effort of ships and aircraft of the US Navy and Air Corps searched ,but were unable to locate the Japanese aircraft carriers. Photo shows the Phoenix as she passes the smoking USS West Virginia (left) and USS Arizona (right) while steaming down the south channel past Battleship Row.

The USS Phoenix was without damage or casualties at the end of the Japanese raid on Pearl Harbor. She continued throughout the remainder of the war in the Southwest Pacific, participating in the battles for New Guinea and the Philippines. In 1951, the Phoenix was sold to Argentina and renamed the General Belgrano. It was sunk during the Falklands War by the British nuclear submarine, HMS Conqueror in 1982.

U.S. Navy photograph, National Archives Collection.

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