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Phoenix_jz

Some help - Allied Fleet off Salerno

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Hello all, 

 

So despite my attempts via searching the internet and what books I have, I've been stumped trying to find out something I would've thought would've been a pretty easy find;

 

What was the makeup and disposition of the Allied fleet covering the Salerno landings? Try as I might, I've gotten 'bugger all' as a result of my searches.

 

I don't suppose anyone has that information? It'd be greatly appreciated!

 

Thanks!

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This is according to "The Two Ocean War" by Samuel Elliot Morrison, published in 1963 by Little, Brown and Company, Library of Congress number 63-8307;

Page 350: "Owing to the poor tactical air support provided by the AAF and RAF in Sicily, the Royal Navy added four escort carriers and their planes, as a support carrier force." Author does not list ship names.

Page 350: "The Royal Navy provided the covering force of four battleships and two fleet carriers." Author does not list ship  names.

Page 354: "Rear Admiral Lyal A Davidson in Philadelphia commanded Naval gunfire support in the American sector. He had cruiser Savannah and four destroyers (not named) at his disposal, while HMS Abercrombie, screened by Royal Netherlands gunboat Flores, stood by to serve when 15-inch shell was wanted."

Page 355: "Outstanding support was also given by destroyers Bristol, Edison, Ludlow, and Woolsey, driving in through minefields to deliver accurate shoots." 

Page 356: " During this period the Luftwaffe attacked ships in the roadstead with a new glide bomb, radio directed to it's target from a high flying plane. One put Savannah out of action and almost sunk her, but she managed to make Malta under her own power. Philadelphia side-stepped two, HMS Uganda was struck by one that penetrated seven decks and exploded below her hull, but she too was saved."

Pages 356 and 357: "Vietinghoff reported to Marshall Kesselring on the 14th: "The attack this morning ... had to endure naval gunfire from at least 16 to 18 battleships, cruisers, and large destroyers. ... With astonishing precision and freedom of maneuver, these ships shot at every recognized target with overwhelming effect." Philadelphia was to the fore. Boise relieved her, at 08:44 September 14, firing almost continuously at tanks and troops."

Page 357: "In the British sector gunfire support by four light cruisers and four destroyers was equally brisk and enterprising." (ships names not given)

This is all the information this author gives on this battle. I was kind of surprised because he often lists complete fleet line-ups and lists individual ships for some battles. Hope any of this was helpful.

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Alright, so from what I can gather that confirms (with what little I have) that the US force present seems to have just been 3 CLs and 4 DDs;

 

Savannah (Brooklyn-class)

Philadelphia (Brooklyn-class)

Boise (Brooklyn-class)

Bristol (Gleaves-class)

Edison (Gleaves-class)

Ludlow (Gleaves-class)

Woolsey (Gleaves-class)

 

The two British fleet carriers were Illustrious and Formidable

 

The fleet of escort carriers (meant to support landings only) under Vian were the Unicorn (a maintenance carrier turned CVL), and the CVE's Attacker, Battler, Hunter, and Stalker, all Attacker-class.

 

*edit - so, by individually checking all of them, it seems that there were four British BBs present off Salerno; NelsonRodneyKing George VHoweWarspite, and Valiant

 

This clears up a lot of it, although still a lot is missing. It's weird so few books and articles have much detail on the whole thing... thanks for the help!

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Aha!

Goldmine!

 

I had been focusing on the RN's ships, but I decided to look specifically for the USN, and that gave me this:

 

https://forum.axishistory.com//viewtopic.php?t=40587

 

Interestingly, it does not list KGV or Howe... I suspect they must have only shown up later rather than been there according to plan...

 

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16 hours ago, Phoenix_jz said:

Interestingly, it does not list KGV or Howe... I suspect they must have only shown up later rather than been there according to plan...

Yes and no. The two were around for Husky and were then retained later than first planned.

During the Salerno landings it looks like Howe/KGV were assigned to cover Operation Slapstick (landing in Taranto) on the 9th having been hanging around in Malta/Algiers and missing most of Salerno itself (depends if you count Slapstick of part of the wider invasion or specifically Salerno). Probably they were partially acting as a reserve force. The final dispositions of the RM fleet would not have been known through that period, despite the negotiations.

From http://www.naval-history.net/xGM-Chrono-01BB-HMS_King_George_V.htm

July 14th - Force Z returned to Algiers.

 

(Under the original plan KING GEORGE V and HOWE would now have returned to the Home Fleet. However Admiral Cunningham CinC Mediterranean requested and was granted permission to retain the two battleships in the Mediterranean for Operation AVALANCHE, the assault on the Italian mainland at Salerno)

 

Some sailing around Malta-Algiers spent all of August sitting around like a battleship

 

September 9th - At 0300 hours KING GEORGE V and HOWE (Flag Vice Admiral A J Power) escorted by destroyers JERVIS (D14), PALADIN, PANTHER, PATHFINDER and PENN sailed for Taranto as Force Z to carry out Operation SLAPSTICK. At approximately 1100 hours, cruisers AURORA PENELOPE, DIDO, SIRIUS, USS BOISE and minelaying cruiser ABDIEL, with the 1st British Airborne Division embarked, joined Force Z.

At approximately 1400 hours, Italian battleships CAIO DUILIO (Flag Vice Admiral Alberto Da Zara) and ANDREA DORIA, light cruisers LUIGI CADORNA and POMPEO MAGNO and destroyer NICOLOSO Da RECCO hove into sight, they were  steaming towards Malta to surrender.

KING GEORGE V detached from Force Z and escorted the Italian ships to Malta.

September

10th - At 1800 hours KING GEORGE V and her Italian charges arrived at Malta.
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