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The light cruiser of the Omaha class Raleigh was laid down by the Bethlehem Steel Co., Quincy, on 16 August 1920 and completed in February 1924. Her displacement was 7,050 tons, her length overall 556 feet, beam 56 feet and draught 20 feet at the maximum. She was armed with 10 6-inch, 53 caliber and eight 3-inch, 50 caliber anti-aircraft guns as well as eight anti-aircraft machine guns. She had six torpedo tubes and carried two aircraft. Her complement was 458 men. On 7 December she was moored off the north west shore of Ford Island astern of the most northerly ship, Detroit, and forward of Utah. She was targeted by a torpedo bomber at about 0800, but the weapon passed between her and Detroit to explode on the island. A second torpedo hit and she started to list. Her captain, R. Bentham Simons, took counter-flooding measures in an effort to keep her upright. At about 0830 she hoisted a signal to report a sighting of a midget submarine but did not open fire as American ships would be endangered. At 0910 she was attacked by Aichi D3A1 Val dive-bombers and opened fire on them. One crashed on Curtiss but one bombed her successfully, the missile passing right through the ship to explode on the harbor bottom. By 0920 she was 10 feet lower in the water, but still surviving as Simons sent his aircraft away and jettisoned some 60 tons of equipment. At 1100 banging was heard from the upturned Utah and Simons sent carpenter Tellin over with cutting gear - a man was released from the capsized ship. At 1713 the seaplane tender Avocet brought power connections and sandwiches and Raleigh remained afloat. She entered drydock on 3 January and sailed for further repairs at Mare Island on 14 February.

See also: Curtiss; Detroit; Ford Island; midget submarine; Utah; Val

You can find out more about the Raleigh in the following Osprey book:

CAMPAIGN 62 Pearl Harbor 1941


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