USS Minneapolis (CA-36)
One of the most decorated U.S. Navy cruisers during World War II in the Pacific, the heavy cruiser Minneapolis (CA-36) was awarded 16 battle stars for actions ranging from the Gilbert and Marshall Islands raid early in 1942 to the assault on Okinawa in April 1945. The most dangerous moment for the ship came on 30 November 1942 during the Solomon Islands campaign at the Battle of Tassafaronga, where she sank one Japanese transport and helped sink another. At 2327, near Savo Island, Japanese surface combatants struck the ship with two torpedoes. One torpedo cost the cruiser nearly 80 feet of her bow and caused fires that were quickly extinguished. The second hit below the armor belt, buckling the hull and damaging the engineering spaces. The extent of the damage took ten pages to list in the ship's official damage report. Not the least of the Minneapolis 's problems had been the loss of six of her eight boilers and most of the auxiliary machinery in the flooded fire rooms.
Damage control allowed the hurt Minneapolis to limp at 3 knots into Sasapi Harbor, Tulagi, where she was moored to palm trees and tree stumps and camouflaged with foliage. On 5 December, the cruiser was further damaged by a forward gas explosion. Urgent repairs permitted her to leave Tulagi on 12 December for further work. The Minneapolis began her voyage home for final repairs on 7 January 1943 but soon experienced problems that delayed her departure until 10 February, when, in the company of other damaged warships, the cruiser began a 9.5-knot voyage to Pearl Harbor. Arriving at Pearl on 2 March, she then continued on to Mare Island Navy Yard, California, where her hull was rebuilt and the contents of three of her four boiler rooms were replaced by late August. The largely rebuilt Minneapolis departed the West Coast early in September, bound again for the combat zone.
The photo shows the unique camouflage applied at Mare Island; designed to make her look less like a target to Japanese submarines, the paint scheme featured large false, rectangular "windows" painted around the pilothouse portholes; out-of-scale life rafts painted on her sides; and dark paintwork to make her forecastle look as though it terminated abreast the bridge. The ship was deactivated in May 1946 after a dozen years of service and was sold for scrap in 1959.