The Brooklyn-class light cruiser USS Boise (CL-47) was one of the most famous US combat ships of World War II, already internationally renowned following her participation in the naval battles in the Solomons in 1942. After repairs and modifications, in 1943 the Boise was sent to the Mediterranean theatre, there to participate in the invasions of Sicily, Taranto, and Salerno, and enhancing her fame by destroying enemy tanks during armoured counterattacks in both Sicily and Salerno.
From the Mediterranean, Boise was sent to the Southwest Pacific theatre to join the US 7th Fleet for the campaign in New Guinea in 1943–44 and then the invasion of the Philippines. She fought in the battle of Leyte Gulf, notably in the night engagement in the Surigao Strait, where battleships faced off against each other for the last time in maritime history. Boise was credited with helping to sink a Japanese battleship. She also fought off the suicide planes known as kamikazes at Leyte and later at Lingayen Gulf during the invasion of Luzon. MacArthur used her as his flagship for the Luzon attack, thereby adding to her already considerable fame, then after helping retake Corregidor and other islands in the Philippines, Boise carried the general on a triumphant tour of the islands. This tour was interrupted for the invasion of Borneo, but completed when the beach was secured. After MacArthur left the ship in June 1945, she returned to the US for overhaul which was just complete as the war ended, by which time she had been awarded 11 battle stars, more than any other light cruiser in her class.
This full account of USS Boise’s war not only gives us an insight into how one ship navigated a global conflict, but also an insight into the experiences of the men who served on her, and a new perspective on the naval campaigns of the war.
Author(s): Phillip T. Parkerson
First Publishment Date: 30 March 2023