USS Mobile (CL-63)

The USS Mobile (CL-63) was a Cleveland class light cruiser that fought in the Pacific, supporting the fast carrier force during the island hoping campaign, including the invasions of the Gilberts, Marianas, Palau Islands, the Philippines and Okinawa. She received 11 battle stars for her service.

The Mobile was launched in May 1942 at Newport News, Virginia, and commissioned on 24 March 1943. She trained in Chesapeake Bay and in Casco Bay, before departed for the Pacific.

The Mobile reached Pearl Harbor on 23 July 1943. After a month of training she joined CruDiv 13, part of Task Force 15. Her combat debut was a raid on Marcus Island on 31 August 1943, supporting a carrier force. She performed a similar role during attacks on Tarawa in September and on Wake Island on 5/6 October. During the Wake raid the Mobile actually shelled Japanese positions on the island.

USS Mobile (CL-63) in San Francisco Bay, late 1945
USS Mobile (CL-63) in
San Francisco Bay, late 1945

After these early raids the Mobile joined the Fifth Fleet. In November the Mobile helped support the landings at Cape Torokina, Bougainville. She then took part in the invasion of the Gilbert Islands, supporting the landings on Tarawa from 20-28 November.

On 1 December 1943 the Mobile became part of Task Force 50, the fast carrier force in the Pacific Fleet. She took part in a series of attacks on Kwajalein and Wotje in the Marshall Islands, before the task force returned to Pearl Harbor. Mobilecontinued east to San Diego, where she joined the escort group allocated to the Amphibious Forces, 5th Fleet.

In mid-January this force sailed west to take part in the invasion of the Marshalls. The Mobile took part in a bombardment of Wotje (as part of CruDiv 13), before returning to the main fleet to take part in the landing on Kwajalein. This involved a mix of fire support missions and carrier screening duties, mostly off the islands of Roi and Namur in the Kwajalein group.

On 12 February 1944 the Mobile joined Task Force 58, part of the fast carrier force. Her first mission with TF 58 was a devastating carrier raid on the important Japanese base at Truk, in the Caroline Islands, on 16-17 February. This was followed by attacks on Saipan, Tinian and Guam in the Marianas on 21-12 February. After this TG 58.1 became TG 36.1 (12 March). The renumbered group supported the US Marines as they invaded Emirau in the Admiralty Islands on 20 March 1944.

On 27 March the group reverted to TG 58.1. Between 29 March and 3 April they attacked the Palau Islands, Yap and Woleai. Next were the landings at Hollandia in western New Guinea in April, where the Mobile supported the attacks at Aitape, Humbolt Bay and Tanah Merah Bay. This was followed by another attack on Wake Island (21-22 April), a return to Truk and Satawan on 29-30 April and a strike against Ponape on 1 May.

USS Mobile (CL-63) preparing to launch a Vought OS2U Kingfisher, Marcus Raid
USS Mobile (CL-63) preparing to launch a Vought OS2U Kingfisher, Marcus Raid

In June 1944 the fast carrier force, with Mobile part of the covering force, took part in the invasion of the Mariana Islands. They reached the area on 11 June and launched air raids on Saipan, Tinian, Guam and Rota. From 11-17 June the group spread its activities across the Marianas, preventing the Japanese from reinforcing the garrison on Saipan.

The Mobile took part in the Battle of the Philippine Sea, acting as part of the carrier screen and providing antisubmarine and air-sea rescue cover.

The carrier force briefly left the Marianas in late June-early July to attack targets further afield. Pagan Island was the target on 24 June. Eniwetok was next, followed by the Bonin and Volcano Islands on 4 July. By 6 July the task force was back in the Marianas, where the Mobile screened the carriers while they attacked Guam and Rota.

On 23 July TG 58.1 set sail for the Western Carolines, where they attacked Yap, Ulithi and Fais (26 July). The Mobile was part of the inner protective ring, closest to the carriers, during this raid. The carrier force briefly visited Saipan on 2 August, before heading off for another raid on the Bonin and Volcano Islands. This time the cruisers, including the Mobile, were used to carry out an anti-shipping sweep around Chichi Jima. The Mobile took part in the sinking of a large cargo ship and a destroyer and bombarded Chichi Jima.

The Fifth Fleet was now redesignated the Third Fleet, and TG 58 became TG 38. The Mobile was now part of TG 38.3. The renamed group attacked the Palaus on 6-8 September, then hit the Philippines, striking at Mindanao on 9-10 September and the Visayas on 12-13 September.

On 15 September the group reached the Palaus, where it supported the invasions of Peleliu and Angaur. This was followed by another raid into the Philippines, this time against Manila (21 September) and a return to the Visayas on 24 September.  

On 6 October the fleet raided the Ryukyu Islands. Mobile, with the destroyers Gatling (DD-671) and Cotton (DD-669) was detached to find two Japanese ships. One had been sunk by the time they arrived, but they were able to sink the second, a large cargo ship. After this detached duty the Mobile took part in strikes on Formosa and the Pescadores.  

Early in October the cruisers Canberra (CA-70) and Houston (CL-81) were badly damaged (during a major attack on Formosa) and needed an escort as they escaped to safety. The Mobile was part of this force from 13-17 October, and the two damaged cruisers were successfully moved out of the danger area.

On 20 October the Mobile was part of the force that covered the invasion of Leyte. She was thus involved in the Battle of Leyte Gulf, fighting in the battle of Cape Engano (24-25 October 1944). She also took part in the pursuit of the Japanese Mobile Fleet as the survivors of that fleet attempted to escape north. The Japanese carrier Chiyoda was crippled, but she had to be sunk by a force made up of the cruisers Mobile, Sante Fe, New Orleans and Wichita and their supporting destroyers. The rest of the year was spent off the Philippines, supporting the invasion, before at the end of December she set sail for California and a refit.

The Mobile returned to action in the spring of 1945. She reached the fleet off Okinawa on 3 April 1945, two days after the invasion. She joined Task Force 51, part of the Amphibious Forces, Pacific Fleet. She remained with this force for two months, supporting the fighting on Okinawa, providing anti-aircraft cover, taking part in anti-submarine patrols and forming part of a special group given the task of looking out for Japanese suicide boats.

In late May the Mobile joined TG 95.7, Philippine training group, at Leyte. She remained part of that group until the end of the war. After the fighting was over she set sail for Japan, reaching Sagami Bay (outside Tokyo Bay) in time to take part in the official Japanese surrender. She was then used to ferry liberated POWs from Japan to Okinawa. In October she cruised in the Sasebo area. She then performed two 'Magic Carpet' runs, taking US personnel back to the United States.

The Mobile was decommissioned on 9 May 1947 and entered the Reserve Fleet at Bremerton. She remained with the reserve untiul 1 March 1959 when she was struck from the Naval Register. She was sold for scrap on 16 December 1959.

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
Twenty one AA 20mm guns
Four aircraft

Crew complement

1,285

Builder

Newport News

Laid down

14 April 1941

Launched

15 May 1942

Commissioned

24 March 1943

Broken up

1960

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

WWII Home Page | WWII Subject Index | WWII Books | WWII Links | Day by Day

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (25 October 2013), USS Mobile (CL-63) , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_USS_Mobile_CL63.html

Help - F.A.Q. - Contact Us - Search - Recent - About Us -  Subscribe in a reader - Join our Google Group - Cookies