Naval History and Heritage Command

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Denver II (CL-58)


(CL 58: displacement 10,000; length 610'1"; beam 66'6"; draft 20"; speed 33 knots; complement 992; armament 12 6-inch, 12 5-inch, 24 40 millimeter, 21 20 millimeter ; class Cleveland)

The capital city of Colorado.


The second Denver (CL 58) was laid down on 26 December 1940 at Camden, N.J., by the New York Shipbuilding Corp.; launched on 4 April 1942; sponsored by Miss L. J. Stapleton, daughter of the Mayor of Denver; and commissioned on 15 October 1942, Capt. Robert B. Carney in command.

Denver sailed from Philadelphia on 23 January 1943, and arrived at Efate, New Hebrides, on 14 February. The new cruiser first saw combat in the bombardment of Vila, Solomon Islands, on 6 March.  During that action her force engaged and sank the Japanese destroyers Minegumo and Murasame. Continuing her operations in the Solomons, Denver joined the bombardment of Ballale Island on 29 and 30 June in conjunction with the invasion landings on New Georgia, then remained in the area on patrol.

On the last day of October 1943, Denver sortied from Port Purvis with Task Force (TF) 39 to intercept an enemy force attempting to disrupt the landings at Cape Torokina, Bougainville. In the resulting Battle of Empress Augusta Bay on the night of 1-2 November, the American ships sank one enemy light cruiser and a destroyer and damaged two heavy cruisers and two destroyers, while the four other enemy ships broke off the action and retired. During the heavy firing Denver was hit by three 8-inch shells that fortunately did not explode. She shared in the Navy Unit Commendation awarded her division for its outstanding performance in this battle.

Denver covered the support landings on Cape Torokina on 10 and 11 November 1943, and two  days later during a heavy air attack was hit by an aerial torpedo that knocked out all power and communications and killed 20 men. She was towed by Sioux (AT-75) to Port Purvis and by Pawnee (AT-74) to Espiritu Santo for temporary repairs, then sailed to Mare Island for permanent repairs, arriving on 2 January 1944.

Denver returned to the forward area at Eniwetok, arriving on 22 June 1944. Eight days later, she put to sea to screen carriers as they launched strikes to neutralize Japanese bases in the Bonins and Marianas during the invasion of the latter group. She bombarded Iwo Jima on 4 July, and after screening continued air assaults returned to Eniwetok on 5 August.

Denver sailed from Port Purvis 6 September 1944 for the invasion of the Palaus. She bombarded Angaur Island from 12 to 18 September, then covered a task unit engaged in minesweeping, reconnaissance and underwater demolition operations before the landings on Ulithi, in the Western Carolines, on 23 September. She returned to Manus on 28 September to prepare for the return to the Philippines.

Denver departed on 12 October 1944 for the landings on Leyte, bombarding Suluan Island and Dulag to open the vast invasion fleet’s way into Leyte Gulf, then sailed on to bombard the southern landing beaches. As the Japanese sent the major portion of their remaining combatant fleet south in a desperate attempt to break up the landings, Denver's group took station in Surigao Strait on 24 October to prevent the passage of the Japanese Southern Force into Leyte Gulf. Gallant attacks were made by motor torpedo boats and destroyers stationed in advance of the battle line, and battleship Yamashiro, heavy cruiser Mogami, and destroyer Shigure were all that remained of the Japanese ships when Denver and the others of the battle line opened fire at 0351. With three other cruisers, she made a material contribution to the cumulative gunfire that sank Yamashiro. Mogami was later sunk by aircraft, and Shigure was the sole survivor of the fleet that had sailed forth for this phase of the decisive Battle for Leyte Gulf. After that action, Denver sailed to aid in polishing off enemy cripples, aiding in sinking destroyer Asagumo early in the day on 25 October.

Continuing her service in Leyte Gulf, she fought off numerous attacks; during the one of 28 October 1944 a bomb released from one of the planes she shot down exploded nearby causing minor damage and slight flooding. She screened reinforcement landings in November and fought off a suicide attack on 27 November, suffering four men wounded from fragments of a bomb which exploded 200 yards off the starboard quarter. She joined the heavy covering group, for the Mindoro landings (13-16 December), then returned to Manus on the day before Christmas, 24 December.

Returning to San Pedro Bay on 3 January 1945, Denver sortied the next day to cover the landings at Lingayen Gulf. She remained in the Philippines to join in the consolidation of those islands. She covered the landings on Zambales (29-30 January), supported mine-sweeping near and landings on Grande Island; provided fire support at Nasugbu (31 January); escorted a replenishment convoy to Mindoro (1-7 February); covered the Army landings around Mariveles Bay (13-16 February), rescuing the survivors of mined destroyer LaVallette (DD-448); and supported the operations on Palawan and Mindanao from February to May.

On 7 June 1945, Denver sailed from Subic Bay for the amphibious assaults on Brunei Bay, Borneo, and later at Balikpapan. She covered the pre-invasion work of minesweeping units and underwater demolition teams, and provided fire support for the invading troops until returning to San Pedro Bay, Leyte, on 4 July for brief overhaul.

Denver got underway for Okinawa on 13 July 1945 to hunt Japanese shipping off the China coast until 7 August. In her first operations following the cessation of hostilities with Japan in mid-August, she sailed from Okinawa on 9 September to cover the evacuation of men of the Allied forces rescued from prison camps in the Wakayama area and covered the landing of occupation troops at Wakanoura Wan from 25 September to 20 October, when she sailed for home.

Denver arrived at Norfolk on 21 November 1945 and after overhaul, reported to Newport, R.I., in January 1946 for duty training men of the Naval Reserve, and a good-will visit to Quebec, Canada. In April she arrived at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard where she was placed in reserve on 16 October 1946, and out of commission on 7 February 1947.

Stricken on 1 March 1959, ex-Denver was sold on 4 February 1960 to Union Minerals and Alloy Corp., New York City, for $260,689.89, and broken-up at Kearny, N.J., during November 1960.

In addition to the Navy Unit Commendation, Denver received 11 battle stars for her World War II service.

[Detailed history under construction]

Published: Mon Jul 06 14:13:40 EDT 2015