USS Manchester (CL-83)

USS Manchester (CL-83) was a Cleveland class light cruiser that was completed too late to see combat during the Second World War but that was heavily involved in the fighting in Korea. Manchester received nine battles stars for Korean service.

The Manchester was laid down on 25 September 1944, launched on 5 March 1946 and commissioned on 29 October 1946. Her shakedown cruiser was completed by March 1947, and spent the early part of her career serving in the Mediterranean (April-June 1947, June-November 1947, 9 February to 26 June 1948 and 3 January to 4 March 1949).

USS Manchester (CL-83) after bombarding Wonsan, 1953
USS Manchester (CL-83)
after bombarding Wonsan, 1953

After the last of these Mediterranean postings the Manchester was allocated to the Pacific Fleet. This was a more active area, and she patrolled Chinese waters during the last days of the Chinese Civil War, before returning to the US, arriving on 28 November 1949.

On 25 June 1950 North Korean invaded the South, triggering the Korean War. The Manchester was undergoing an overhaul at the time, but the work was quickly completed and on 1 August she departed for the Pacific, reaching Japan in September. She was allocated to TF 77, a carrier task group similar to those formed during the Second World War, but at least to start with her main role was shore bombardment. TF 77 operated in the Yellow Sea, west of Korea, attacking the North Korean lines of communication. On 15 September the Manchester supported the Inchon landings, bombarding North Korean targets. She then attacked North Korean troops at Tungsan Got.

After the successful establishment of a bridgehead on the west coast the task force moved around to the east coast. The Manchester carried out shore bombardments to support the invasion at Wonsan while the carrier aircraft ranged further afield.

USS Manchester (CL-83), 1950-52
USS Manchester (CL-83), 1950-52

When UN Forces approached the Yalu River, at the northern border of Korea, the Manchester was allocated to TF 72 in the Taiwan Straits. The early belief that the war had been won ended when the Chinese entered the war and forced the UN forces into a rapid retreat south. The Manchester rejoined TF 77 on 3 December 1951, where her first task was to support the evacuation of UN forces from Hungnam.

On 8 January 1951 the Manchester took part in an operation to evacuate the crew of the Thai corvette Prasae which had gone aground close to the North Korean lines. For the rest of her first Korean tour she was used for shore bombardments, attacking Korean and Chinese communications and transports close the north-east coast of Korea. This first tour ended on 1 June 1951.

On 8 December 1951 the Manchester rejoined the fleet off Korea, this time as flagship of Task Force 95, the blockading and escort force. During this tour she performed a mix of shore bombardments and air-sea rescue missions using her helicopters to rescue downed UN airmen. This second tour ended on 14 May 1942.

The Manchester's third and final tour off Korean began on 4 March 1944 when she joined Task Force 77. Once again she was involved in providing fire support and carrying out shore bombardments at the eastern end of the increasingly static front line. By now an armistice was close. On 23 July the Manchester left Korean waters, and on 27 July 1953 a truce came into effect.

The Manchestercarried out two more tours of duty in the west Pacific during 1954 and 1955, making her the last unmodified Cleveland class cruiser to see active service (some were converted into guided missile cruisers and served into the early 1970s). She finally entered the Reserve Fleet on 27 February 1956. She was decommissioned on 27 June 1956, stricken from the Navy List on 1 April 1960 and sold for scrap later in the same year.

Displacement (standard)

11,744t

Displacement (loaded)

14,131t

Top Speed

32.5kts

Range

11,000nm at 15kts

Armour – belt

3-5in

 - armour deck

2in

 - bulkheads

5in

 - barbettes

6in

 - turrets

6.5in face
3in top
3in side
1.5in rear

 - conning tower

5in
2.25in roof

Length

610ft 1in oa

Armaments

Twelve 6in/47 guns (four triple turrets)
Twelve 5in/38 guns (six double positions)
Twenty eight 40mm guns (4x4, 6x2)
Ten 20mm guns
Four aircraft

Crew complement

1,285

Builder

Bethlehem, Quincy

Laid down

September 1944

Launched

5 March 1946

Commissioned

29 October 1946

Broken up

1961

US Navy Light Cruisers 1941-45, Mark Stille. Covers the five classes of US Navy light cruisers that saw service during the Second World War, with sections on their design, weaponry, radar, combat experience. Nicely organised, with the wartime service records separated out from the main text, so that the design history of the light cruisers flows nicely. Interesting to see how new roles had to be found for them, after other technology replaced them as reconnaissance aircraft [read full review]
cover cover cover

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (8 November 2013), USS Manchester (CL-83), http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_USS_Manchester_CL83.html

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