Monday, June 04, 2007

USS Pittsburgh - June 5th 1945

The late historian Stephen Ambrose is personally responsible for much of the history of WWII and accolades awarded to the role of the Higgins Boat in the D-Day invasions. I wonder how the history would have been written if there had been any comparable WWII historian here who took up the topic of (many Pittsburgh-built) LST's in World War II, and in particular on D-Day (June 6th). That is just a blatant plug to stir interest in my idea to bring LST-325 up to Pittsburgh for a visit.


But speaking of D-Day. Also overshadowed because of the date is the anniversary of one of the most harrowing sea stories that does not involve a ship actually sinking. In what may be one of the most notable acts of seamanship since the age of sail, June 5th is the anniversary of the date when the the cruiser USS Pittsburgh had its bow ripped off by Typhoon Cobra Viper* in the South Pacific. The ship would not sink and would make it back to port sans bow. The bow itself actually did not sink and was dubbed the USS Mckeesport. The Navy probably didn't appreciate the irony of how improbable cooperation was between the City of Pittsburgh and one of its suburbs.

* update: I said it was Typhoon Cobra which tore off the bow of the USS Pittsburgh. That is obviously incorrect. Typhoon Cobra was December of 1944. Less well known is Typhoon Viper which was the storm in June of 1945

update June 2008. If you are finding this post, you are probably looking more for my piece in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette in June of 2008 on The USS Pittsburgh vs. Typhoon Viper.


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