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Sunday, June 12, 2011

THE PENSACOLA CONVOY


Late in 1941, President Roosevelt ordered an urgently needed re-supply convoy sent to the Philippines to bolster MacArthur’s garrisons. Had this convoy not been the victim of timidity and military wrangling, it might have reached its destination and changed the entire course of the Pacific War.
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A few months prior to 7 December 1941 and the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt formulated plans to send a military convoy to the Philippines to reinforce Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s garrisons in the islands.

On 14 November, Operation Plum was given the go-ahead. Seven merchant vessels and two U. S. Navy warships were fitted out for the voyage to Manila.  The troopships included the Willard A. Holbrook, Republic, Miens, Bloemfontein, Admiral Halstead, Farmer, and Chaumont. The escorts assigned to the Pacific crossing were the heavy cruiser USS Pensacola (CA-24) and the submarine chaser USS Niagara
The relief force, dubbed the Pensacola Convoy, comprised a brigade of National Guard artillery, 20 75mm guns, 52 Douglas A-24 dive bombers, 18 Curtiss P-40 fighters, 340 vehicles, a half-million round of .50-cal ammunition, 9,600 rounds of 37mm antiaircraft shells, 5,000 bombs, and 9,000 drums of aviation gasoline.
 
On 20 November 1941, the 4,600 National Guard troops arrived at San Francisco. The First Battalion, 148the Idaho Field Artillery, and the First and Second Battalions of the 147th South Dakota Field Artillery marched aboard the Holbrook. The Bloemfuntein carried the Second Battalion of the 131st Texas Artillery.

Willard Heath, of the 148th, stated: “Once aboard the ‘rust bucket’ Holbrook any preconceived ideas of a pleasure cruise soon vanished.”

Above you see the USS Pensacola (CA-24).  Well this is what this article is all about...of how this cruiser would become the name sake of the most controversial convoy in the history of WW II.

So if you wish to give this one a "go"...well just click on the below link:

PAWN OF FATE: THE PENSACOLA CONVOY

Hope you enjoy the article.