D 553 ITS Artigliere / ex USS Woodworth (DD
USS Woodworth (DD-460) was a Benson-class
destroyer in the United States Navy during World War II. She was named for
Commander Selim E. Woodworth.
Woodworth was laid down on 13 January 1941 at San Francisco, California, by
the Bethlehem Steel Company; launched on 29 November 1941; sponsored by Mrs.
Selim E. Woodworth, niece and daughter-in-law of Commander Woodworth; and
commissioned on 30 April 1942, Lieutenant Commander R. C. Webb, Jr., in
Service history (USS Woodworth)
World War II
After four months spent in fitting out and shakedown, Woodworth spent the
remainder of 1942 performing escort duty in the Southwest Pacific area. She
stopped at many ports between Australia and Guadalcanal. Woodworth was
attached to Task Force (TF) 65 in January 1943, conducting patrols and
exercises at the western entrance to Espiritu Santo, New Hebrides.
On 2 February, Woodworth passed to the control of Vice Admiral Richard P.
Leary who commanded TF 69 from his flagship, New Mexico. Two days later, that
formation was merged with TF 18 consisting of Wichita, two aircraft carriers,
three light cruisers, and four destroyers. An oiler and another destroyer also
joined the force on the 5th. The month of February was devoted to patrolling
and escorting transports in waters between the Solomon Islands and the New
Hebrides. After escorting transports to the Fiji Islands on 1 March,
Woodworth returned to Espiritu Santo on the 13th and joined TF 15 organized
around Enterprise. Woodworth entered port at Espiritu Santo on 21 March and
the following day commenced tender availability. On 3 April, she headed back
to the Solomons, arriving at Tulagi on the 5th for entrance patrol. The next
day, Woodworth escorted Tappahannock to Kukum and then resumed her patrol.
On the 7th, while escorting Tappahannock in the Solomons area, Woodworth came
under enemy air attack by six planes north of Rua Sura Island. Four bombs
dropped close aboard Tappahannock. Two struck the sea on the starboard side
and threw considerable water over the ship. The attack, which lasted about
four minutes, caused no personnel casualties and only minor material damage.
Woodworth spent the remainder of April and early May in tactical training
exercises, escort, and patrol in waters between the New Hebrides and New
Caledonia. From 8 May to 29 June, Woodworth escorted transports carrying
reinforcements to Guadalcanal and helped to screen TF 10 - consisting of two
carriers, three battleships, one cruiser, and several destroyers - to Nouméa.
Woodworth continued on to Auckland, New Zealand, where she underwent
restricted availability before escorting Tallulah to Nouméa. Woodworth then
screened transports steaming from Espiritu Santo to Guadalcanal.
On 30 June, while escorting amphibious forces to Rendova Island, Solomon
Islands, Woodworth came under air attack by 12 low-flying Japanese torpedo
bombers. Woodworth's maneuvers enabled her to avoid the torpedoes, and she
suffered only one personnel casualty and mere superficial damage from three
machine gun hits.
On 2 July 1943, Woodworth and Jenkins bombarded Japanese positions on Wickham
Island, Vonguna, New Georgia, to assist the advance of troops ashore. The
next day, Woodworth sailed for Tulagi, touched at Port Purvis and Rendova
Harbor, and arrived off Rice Anchorage on 5 July 1943 to participate in the
first landing operations there. Later that day, she headed for Port Purvis.
On 11 July, Woodworth, along with Kilty, Crosby, and Schley, took part in the
second landing operations at Rice Anchorage. While returning to Guadalcanal
the following morning, Taylor fired on, depth charged, but failed to sink
On 13 July, as part of Task Group (TG) 36.1, Wood-worth took part in the
Battle of Kolombangara, one of a series of naval engagements for control of
waters between Vella La Vella and Kolombangara to the south and Choiseul to
the north. The Japanese force consisted of one cruiser and five destroyers.
Woodworth fired four torpedoes, and a fifth misfired. During the action, she
was struck a glancing blow to the stern by Buchanan, causing some flooding
and light damage, but she continued to screen St. Louis which was hit by a
torpedo. Gwin was also hit and exploded. Nothing could be seen of that
destroyer but a 300-foot-high column of smoke. Damage control efforts for
Gwin were futile, and she was scuttled. Woodworth suffered no personnel
Woodworth conducted patrol and escort operations between Espiritu Santo and
Guadalcanal until 7 October when she joined TF 38. Following training
exercises, she departed Espiritu Santo on 29 October with TF 38 organized
around Saratoga and Princeton. They launched air attacks on Buka, Shortland
Islands, on 1 and 2 November 1943 and conducted raids on Rabaul on 5 and
again on 11 November before becoming detached from TF 38 on the 14th.
Woodworth sailed for Guadalcanal on 16 November in the escort of Pincvkney,
then took part in patrol operations in the Solomon area until late December
as part of TG 36.1. On 26 December, Woodworth departed Espiritu Santo to
carry a deck cargo of 1,500 rounds of 5-inch projectiles and 1,500 rounds of
5-inch powder charges to Port Purvis near Tulagi.
On the evening of 8 January 1944, Woodworth took part in the bombardment of
the Shortland Islands and encountered ineffective return fire from the shore.
She conducted escort and patrol operations between the northern Solomons and
the Bismarck Archipelago until 13 January when she joined Destroyer Squadron
(Des Ron) 12 and, with Farenholt, Lansdowne, and Buchanan, conducted a
bombardment of shore installations, barge concentrations, and staging points
on the northeast coast of Bougainville, Baniu Harbor, and Ruri Bay, Solomon
Islands; but she encountered no return fire and no air or surface opposition.
While transiting Bougainville Strait, Woodworth fired five salvoes at a
Japanese tent camp on the northwest tip of Choiseul Island. She then spent
the remainder of January and February, through the 13th, in escort and
training exercises to Torokina, barge-hunting off Bougainville, escort to
Port Purvis, and escort and training exercises at Sydney, Australia.
On 13 February, Woodworth, in the company of TF 38, covered the advance of
the assault on Green Island. The following day, the task force was attacked
by a group of six enemy dive bombers. St. Louis was hit and suffered the loss
of 23 men. Several snoopers later approached the task force and were taken
under fire, Woodworth's guns accounted for one while she and her sister ships
sustained no casualties or damage. On 14 and 15 February, Woodworth, with
Farenholt, Buchanan, Lansdowne, and Lardner, conducted an antishipping sweep
of St. George's Channel north of Rabaul, New Britain, but encountered no Japanese
vessels. On 17 and 18 February, the same destroyers bombarded Rabaul and
shore batteries on Praed Point. Woodworth fired torpedoes at two ships
leaving Simpson Harbor and later at large groups of ships in Kervia Bay. She
also fired her guns at targets near Timber Point and Cape Gazelle. On 24
February, while conducting an antishipping sweep along Truk-Kavieng, New
Ireland, shipping lanes about 60 miles northwest of Kavieng, she made radar
contact with a Japanese merchant vessel and a large, heavily laden tanker.
Woodworth fired 38 rounds of 5"/38-caliber at the merchant vessel which
was closed and sunk by DesDiv 24. Woodworth fishtailed at various times to
avoid shells from the shore batteries. Two enemy ships were sunk in the
harbor, and one other was damaged and left burning. The American warship also
set numerous barges afire in Steffen Strait and engaged Japanese shore
batteries. Woodworth arrived at Port Purvis, Florida Island, on 26 February.
From 1 through 21 March, Woodworth conducted training exercises, escort
missions, antisubmarine searches, and barge-hunting operations throughout the
Solomon Islands. She fired at enemy positions and encountered no opposition.
Woodworth departed Port Purvis with Buchanan on 22 March, bound for Pearl
Harbor. She joined TG 35.6 with a merchant convoy of five ships off
Guadalcanal and proceeded to Hawaii with it. On 9 April, Woodworth cleared
Pearl Harbor and steamed to San Francisco. She was drydocked at the Mare
Island Navy Yard on 15 April 1944.
The destroyer underwent an overhaul and refresher training exercises until 21
July when she joined TG 12.1 and steamed to Hawaii on a presidential cruise
with Dunlap, Cummings, Fanning, and Baltimore. Baltimore was carrying
President Franklin D. Roosevelt to Pearl Harbor to discuss future strategy in
the Pacific with Admiral Chester Nimitz and General Douglas MacArthur.
Following the historic conference, the task force took the President north to
Alaska and the Aleutian Islands. Mr. Roosevelt left Baltimore at Kodiak,
Alaska on 8 August, and proceeded to Bremerton, Washington, on Cummings.
Woodworth arrived at San Francisco, California on 14 August 1944, but sailed
the following day for Pearl Harbor, where she arrived on 20 August for more
than one month of training exercises. On 30 September, she entered Ulithi
Atoll for antisubmarine patrol; and, on 7 October, she joined TG 38.1.
In late 1944, while refueling at sea from Salamaua, "Woodworth"
sustained numerous superficial damages as a result of a mid-refueling collision.
First Class Quartermaster L. G. Chacona, while manning the wheel during the
exercise, struggled against a port-ward drift until the ship veered off
course enough to cause the hawserline, whose usage was discontinued as a
result of the accident, connecting the two bows to snap. Soon after the fuel
lines also snapped causing a fuel spill over the decks. As the boats
collided, Woodworth sustained heavy damage along the port side bridge.
Salamaua sustained only a hole from puncture of Woodworth's port anchor,
resulting in Salamaua being nicknamed "The Can-Opener".
"Woodworth" returned to the port of Salerno for repairs before
returning to duty.
The carriers of Woodworth's task group launched an air strike on Okinawa on
10 October, and the planes later raided Japanese installations at Aparri,
northern Luzon. On 12 October, the first strikes on Formosa were launched.
Woodworth was on a picket station 12 miles east of the formation when she was
attacked by Japanese torpedo planes at 1815. She fired at several planes but
failed to score any hits. The ship sustained heavy weather damage and
expended 160 rounds of 5-inch ammunition, 100 rounds of 40-millimeter, and
320 rounds of 20-millimeter. The following day, five Japanese twin-engine,
land-based planes attacked the formation. Woodworth shot down one plane which
crashed in flames after passing over the fantail. During the action, Canberra
was hit by a torpedo and sustained heavy damage. A third day of strikes
against Formosa on the 14th summoned three waves of air attacks by the
Japanese. Friendly fighters intercepted and repelled the first two strikes.
The third wave consisted of eight or nine enemy aircraft; Woodworth claimed
to have shot down three: "Two planes were seen to burst into flames. It
was a pretty sight." All the planes destroyed were credited to the use
of Mk 32 projectiles of which Woodworth used 75 percent. In this action,
Houston was torpedoed and heavily damaged.
On 15 October, TG 38.1 began preparations for attacks on Japanese
installations in the Philippines. The first of these occurred on 18 October
at Luzon, Philippine Islands. These attacks continued through the end of the
month to support the first phase of Major General Douglas MacArthur's
liberation of the Philippines. Woodworthwas then detached from TG 38.1 and
steamed to Leyte Gulf to join TG 30.3 before it sailed for Ulithi.
Woodworth spent November in screening exercises, antisubmarine patrol at
Eniwetok, and escorted a convoy to the Palau Islands. She spent December
patrolling off Peleliu and Angaur Island in the Palau group; conducting
independent antisubmarine patrol; and escorting a convoy to Leyte Gulf.
Woodworth and McCalla then screened a five-ship convoy to Ulithi on 2 January
1945. There, Woodworth underwent tender availability until 11 January. The
next day, she assisted in the rescue of LCI(L)-600 and participated in
hunter-killer operations with McCalla.
Woodworth got underway as TU 94.18.12 on 15 January for gunnery practice. She
was boarded by Capt. W. P. Burford and staff and served as a station ship for
gunnery practice off Kossol Roads, Palau, throughout February. On 12 March,
Captain Burford relieved Commander D. E. Brown as CTU 94.6.21. Thus,
Woodworth became the station ship for the Ulithi Surface Patrol and Escort
Group and participated in search and rescue operations for the remainder of
March. Woodworth next underwent tender availability and took patrol station
off Mugai Channel at the entrance to Ulithi Harbor on 25 April. She took part
in escort and gunnery exercises with Enterprise and Hubbard until 5 May.
Woodworth patrolled the transport anchorage area southwest of Okinawa on 9
May; the following day, she escorted Makin Island to Kerama Retto harbor and
there joined a task unit consisting of six CVEs and nine escorts. From 10 May
through 28 May, Woodworth took part in daily air strikes on Okinawa. On 28
May, she and Henley escorted Natoma Bay to Kerama Retto, Okinawa Shima, where
Woodworth underwent repairs until 6 June. The following day, while conducting
air strikes on Miyako Retto of Sakishimo Gunto, two undetected enemy planes
closed the formation and made suicide dives on the CVE's. One crashed into
Natoma Bay and the other into the sea.
Woodworth supported air strikes on Okinawa; Kyūshū, Japan; and various
islands of the Ryukyus from 8 June until 21 June when she rescued a crashed
pilot from Steamer Bay. She spent 22 and 23 June on radar picket duty off
Okinawa and departed the Ryukyus on 24 June, bound for Leyte Gulf. She
underwent tender availability from 1 to 10 July when she turned her attention
to screening the fueling and replenishing of TF 38 (Fast Carrier Force) and
devoted the remainder of July to assisting logistic operations for the Fast
Carrier Force during strikes on the main islands of Japan.
On 2 August, Woodworth escorted Neshanic via Guam to Ulithi. On the 12th,
Woodworth joined in an attempt to rescue a downed pilot, but he was dead when
help arrived. On 14 August, Woodworth was ordered to proceed independently to
Iwo Jima to pick up mail and passengers for the Fast Carrier Force. She
joined in the refueling and replenishment of the flattops on 18 August. On 22
August, she was then assigned to a task unit organized around Rear Admiral
Thomas L. Sprague in Ticonderoga which was charged with providing air
coverage for the first occupation force to go to the Japanese homeland. On 5
September, Woodworth took part in firing practices and replenishment until 10
September when she anchored in Tokyo Bay. But for brief training and escort
periods at sea, she remained there through the end of the month.
On 1 October, Woodworth got underway for Okinawa and left that island on 6
October, bound for home with 50 men and eight officers embarked as passengers
for the voyage. She arrived in Portland, Oregon, on 19 October and, 10 days
later, headed south for San Pedro, California.
Post War and the Italian Navy
Woodworth was transferred to the Atlantic Fleet in November and proceeded
through the Panama Canal to Charleston, South Carolina. After inactivation
overhaul there,the destroyer was placed out of commission, in reserve, on 11
April 1946. She was placed in service on 30 January 1947 for Naval Reserve
training duty. Placed in full commission on 21 November 1950, the ship was
briefly assigned to the 3d Naval District before she was decommissioned at
the New York Naval Shipyard on 14 January 1951 and overhauled to prepare her
for transfer to the Government of Italy. Her name was struck from the Navy
list on 22 January 1951, and she was turned over to the Italian Navy on 11
She served Italy as Artigliere (D-553), operating as a command ship for motor
torpedo boat flotillas - until struck from the Italian Naval Vessel Register
in January 1971 and scrapped.