Battleship Wisconsin (BB-64) - WW II

bb64 On 24 September 1944, Wisconsin sailed for the west coast, transited the Panama Canal, and reported for duty with the Pacific Fleet on 2 October. The battleship later moved to Hawaiian waters for training exercises and then headed for the Western Caroline Islands. Upon reaching Ulithi on 9 December, she joined Admiral William F. Halsey's Third Fleet.

The powerful new warship had arrived at a time when the reconquest of the Philippines was well underway. As a part of that movement, the planners had envisioned landings on the southwest coast of Mindoro, south of Luzon. From that point, American forces could threaten Japanese shipping lanes through the South China Sea.

The day before the amphibians assaulted Mindoro, the Third Fleet's Fast Carrier Task Force (TF) 38, supported in art by Wisconsin, rendered Japanese facilities at Manila largely useless. Between 14 December and 16 December, TF 38's naval aviators secured complete tactical surprise and quickly won complete mastery of the air and sank or destroyed 27 Japanese vessels; damaged 60 more; destroyed 269 planes; and bombed miscellaneous ground installations.

The next day the weather, however, soon turned sour for Halsey's sailors. A furious typhoon struck his fleet, catching many ships refueling and with little ballast in their nearly dry bunkers. Three destroyers, Hull (DD-350), Monaghan (DD-354), and Spence (DD-512), capsized and sank. Wisconsin proved her seaworthiness as she escaped the storm unscathed.

As heavily contested as they were, the Mindoro operations proved only the introduction to another series of calculated blows aimed at the occupying Japanese in the Philippines. For Wisconsin, her next operation was the occupation of Luzon. Bypassing the southern beaches, American amphibians went ashore at Lingayen Gulf, the scene of the Japanese landings nearly three years before.

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