Salerno, Italy, 1943
On the morning of September 11, 1943, the USS Savannah (CL-42) was struck by a German radio-controlled Fritz X glide-bomb at the Battle of Salerno, Italy. The missle tore through the armored No. 3 gun turret, passed through three decks and exploded in the lower ammunition-handling room. Secondary explosions continued in the turret and its ammunition supply room for another 30 minutes. The result of the Fritz X explosion was a gaping hole in Savannah's keel, a 60-foot gash in her port side seam below the waterline, and more than 200 causalities.
For the next seven hours Savannah's crew fought arduously to seal off the flooded and burned compartments, correct her list, and recover and rescue fellow crew members. Due to their efforts, at 1757 hours Savannah was able to get underway on her own steam for the harbor of Malta where she arrived on September 12.
"Battle Voices" is an account of the punishing occurrences onboard ship during the Battle of Salerno, Italy. Stories from various crew members have been woven within the ship's log to provide first-hand reports of the harrowing events at the time they actually occurred. The juxtaposition of human struggle with the fact-based data of the ship's log is an attempt to provide an all-inclusive view of this historic event.