USS PITTSBURG (CA-72) & her lost bow.

January 2nd, 2009

From Wed Dec 31 08:59:55 1997
>From: “Francis.Timothy”
>To: Mahan Naval History Mailing List , MARHST
> , World War II Discussion List
> , “‘‘”
>Subject: RE: USS PITTSBURG (CA-72) & her lost bow.
>Date: Wed, 31 Dec 1997 10:47:33 -0500
>X-Mailer: Internet Mail Service (5.0.1457.3)
>Precendence: bulk
>The bow broke off during a typhoon owing to poor plate welds at the
>Bethlehem Shipbuilding Co. at the Fore River Shipyard, Quincy, Mass., in
>April 1943. This was the third case for a U.S. Navy warship, the USS
>Baltimore (CA-68) also suffered buckling of the bow plates but did not
>lose the bow.
>This is probably directly related to the extremely high turnover rates
>in labor, and the constant need for worker training, at the west coast
>shipyards during the war. This was partially caused by the “pirating”
>of skilled labor by the new aviation plants in California and
>Yet another “evil” influence of the Army Air Corps/Air Force (i.e., the
>superfluous service). [hey, just a joke…]
>Incidently, because of this weld failure, BuShips began X-raying
>critical welds on large surface ships (a practice previously limited to
>submarine construction).
>The bow was found by a tug (I can’t find the name) and towed to Guam.
>While in tow, it was termed a “suburb of Pittsburgh” and jokingly
>christened “McKeesport” by the crew. Supposedly, the cruiser’s crew
>started a rumor that the bow was filled with hundred’s of cases of beer
>and the bow was “anxiously awaited bu thousands of personnel stationed
>at the island.” While the documents are not clear, it seems the bow was
>”salvaged” at Guam, i.e. investigated and then cut up for scrap, with
>specimen pieces sent to BuShips for study.
>An entirely new bow, with about 5 tons of strengthening, was fabricated
>and attached at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard.
>Timothy L. Francis
>Naval Historical Center
>email address:
>voice: (202) 433-6802
> > ———-
> > From: Brooks A Rowlett[]
> > Subject: USS PITTSBURG (CA-72) & her lost bow.
> >
> >As is fairly well known, BALTIMORE class heavy cruiser USS PITTSBURGH
> >lost her bow in a storm in 1945.
> >The bow was salved and brought into Guam. However, PITTSBURG sailed
> >to Puget Sound Navy yard with a false bow and was under repair there at
> >the end of the war, and was decommissioned upon completion of repairs.
> >So it appears that the original bow was not re-attached.
> >Is that correct? Was a new bow built? If not, what vessel towed the
> >original bow back to the United States; or if the original bow was not
> >used, what was its ultimate fate? Scrap? Sunk as target?
> > -Brooks

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