Photo Archive
USS San Francisco

CA-38
New Orleans Class Heavy Cruiser

These US Navy photos were scanned from USS San Francisco: A Technical History by Chuck Hansen.  Last published in 1981, the book is a treasure trove of information about this famous cruiser. I have selected photos showing her before and after her major refits.  Her appearance changed dramatically as the Pacific campaign evolved. Starting with the fierce Solomons surface battles of 1942  and then progressing   to AA escort and shore bombardment duties later in the war, San Francisco saw an extraordinary amount of action. Three of her sister ships-Quincy, Vincennes and Astoria-were sunk in one evening off Savo Island. San Francisco herself was struck by a crashing Japanese plane and hit by 45 heavy caliber rounds during Third Savo, November 12, 1942. Twelve of the hits were 14" shells fired by the Japanese battleships Hiei and Kirishima. Fortunately for her, these were incendiary shells of the type used to bombard Henderson Field, Guadalcanal. They started fires throughout the ship but "only" had the explosive force of 8" ordnance. Her entire battle staff, Captain, and task force commander were killed as well as many of her AA gunners in exposed positions. The December 1942 photos below show her at Pearl Harbor and San Francisco Bay en route to Mare Island for repairs and refit after this battering. Note how she gained more AA armament as the war progressed.  To compensate, her superstructure and searchlight platform were reduced in size, and a crane and catapult landed.

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San Fran 1935.jpg (36304 bytes)
Dec 1935
San Fran May 42.jpg (17346 bytes)
May 1942
San Fran May 42 midship.jpg (63289 bytes)
Midship May '42
San Fran May 42 stern.jpg (48509 bytes)
Hangar roof & stern May '42 (USS Blue DD-387 in background)
San Fran May 42 fwd super.jpg (57875 bytes)
Forward superstructure May '42
San Fran Dec 42 Pearl 02.jpg (42640 bytes)
December '42 Pearl Harbor in transit to US mainland for repairs
San Fran Dec 42 Pearl.jpg (40899 bytes)
December '42 Pearl
Harbor
San Fran Dec 42 SF bay 02.jpg (62247 bytes)
December '42 San Francisco Bay (beautiful photo!)

San Fran Dec 42 SF bay.jpg (22031 bytes)
December '42 San Francisco Bay
San Fran Feb 43.jpg (24708 bytes)
February '43 after repairs at Mare Island near San Francisco
San Fran Feb 43 midship.jpg (104010 bytes)
February '43 at Mare Island
San Fran Oct 44 Ms 33.jpg (22469 bytes)
October '44 in Measure 33
San Fran Oct 44 Ms 33 02.jpg (30757 bytes)
October '44 in measure 33
San Fran Oct 44 Fwd.jpg (52616 bytes)
October '44 at Mare Island: forecastle detail
San Fran Oct 44 midship.jpg (89997 bytes)
October '44 midship details
San Fran Oct 44 Qtrdeck.jpg (80514 bytes)
October '44 quarterdeck details

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