Lighting up the sky on All Saints Day, 75 years ago today

Here we see the Cleveland-class light cruiser USS Columbia (CL-56), her after 6″/47cal gun turrets just absolutely lighting up the sky during a night bombardment of Japanese facilities in the Shortland Islands, covering the landings on nearby Bougainville, 1 November 1943.

Official U.S. Navy photo 80-G-44058 from the U.S. Navy Naval History and Heritage Command

Note that the image has been retouched by censors to eliminate radar antennas on gun directors and masthead.

Armed with a dozen 6″/47 Mark 16 guns in four triple turrets, Columbia could lob a 130-pound AP shell 20,000-yards and, as a well-trained crew could get out 10-rounds per minute per tube (for brief periods anyway) the cruiser could plaster a target with 120 such shells in 60 seconds or less. The very night after the above photo was taken, Columbia helped her sisterships USS Montpelier, Cleveland, and Denver sink the Japanese cruiser Sendai and destroyer Hatsukaze, again proving the effectiveness of those beautiful Mark 16s.

Commissioned in 1942, Columbia earned 10 battle stars and was put in mothballs in 1946 after just a four-year stint in the majors. She sat on rust row until 1959 when she was stricken and scrapped.

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About laststandonzombieisland

Let me introduce myself. I am a bit of a conflict junkie. I am fascinated by war and warfare, assassination, personal protection and weaponry ranging from spud guns and flame throwers to thermonuclear bombs and Soviet-trained Ebola monkeys. In short, if it’s violent or a tool to create violence it is kind of my thing. I have written a few thousand articles on the dry encyclopedia side for such websites as, University of Guns, Outdoor Hub, Tac-44, History Times, Big Game Hunter, Glock Forum, Firearms, and Combat Forums; as well as for print publications like England Expects, and Strike First Strike Fast. Several magazines such as Sea Classics, Military Historian and Collector, Mississippi Sportsman and Warship International have carried my pieces. Additionally I am on staff as a naval consultant and writer for Eye Spy Intelligence Magazine. Currently I am working on several book projects including an alternative history novel about the US-German War of 1916, and a biography of Southern gadfly and soldier of fortune Bennett Doty. My first novel, about the coming zombie apocalypse was released in 2012 by Necro Publications and can be found at as was the prequel, Chimera-44. I am currently working on book two of that series: "Pirates of the Zombie Coast." In my day job I am a contractor for the U.S. federal government in what could best be described as the ‘Force Protection’ field. In this I am an NRA-certified firearms, and less-than-lethal combat instructor.

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