During the Korean War (1950-1953) the United States Navy (USN) continued to acquire modern warships for the various tasks ahead. USS Carronade (IFS-1) was one of the vessels taken into service during this period and was developed specifically with supporting amphibious operations in mind. The American Navy found tremendous success with such large-scale operations during World War 2 (1939-1945) and much of the doctrine was still in place for the war in Korea - support ships firing off cannons and rockets from a distance away in an attempt to soften enemy defenses. USS Carronade was categorized as an "Inshore Fire Support" (IFS) vessel and charged with providing overhead firepower for assaulting allied ground forces and, as such, she carried far-reaching rockets for the role.
Named after the short-barreled, smoothbore iron cannon of old, "Carronade" managed a career spanning from 1953 until 1970. During her tenure on the high seas, the vessel was commissioned twice (1955 and 1969) but truly made a name for herself in the upcoming Vietnam War (1955-1975) where she earned a total of ten Battle Stars for her service in the conflict.
Unlike other modern steel warships, which traditionally sat their mass at midships, USS Carronade was designed to feature her mass closer to stern and open her forecastle for primary armament with unobstructed firing angles. She was armed with a 1 x 5" /38 caliber Dual Purpose (DP) deck gun for protection against surface ships (and bombarding shoreline positions) and carried 2 x 40mm Bofors Anti-Aircraft (AA) guns for close-in defense but her primary armament was 8 x Mark 105 series twin rocket launchers - really the heart-and-soul of her firepower when participating in amphibious assaults. The vessel could lay just outside of the assault zone and assail shoreline and inland targets through her rocket firepower - some thirty rockets could be unleashed from each launcher in as little as a minute.
As built, the vessel displaced 1,500 tons and featured a length of 245 feet, a beam of 38.5 feet and a draught of 11 feet. With her superstructure concentrated near the stern, she promoted a very distinct profile when seen on the horizon. Her operating crew numbered 162 and her machinery consisted of a diesel arrangement providing 3,100 horsepower to 2 x shafts. This gave her a maximum speed (in ideal conditions) of 15 knots.
USS Carronade was constructed by Puget Sound & Dredging Company of Seattle, Washington and saw her keel laid down on November 19th, 1952. She was launched on May 26thm, 1953 and formally commissioned on May 25th, 1955. Her homeport was San Diego along the California coast, giving her access to the wide reaches of the Pacific Ocean.
From mid-1955 until March of 1956 Carronade was used in the training role to acclimate crew and specialists to her new design. A stop at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii and Vancouver, Canada then showed off her deep-water, sea-going capabilities and exercises followed into 1957. She then completed a pair of tours to Southeast Asia before being decommissioned on May 31st, 1960.
By this time, the United States had become embroiled in Vietnam and pressed USS Carronade back into service where she was stationed as flagship to Inshore Fire Support Division 93. Her tour in Vietnam ended in 1970 to which she saw her second decommissioning on July 24, 1970. She was struck from the Naval Register on May 1st, 1973. The U.S. withdrew from the war that same year (March 29th, 1973).
Stripped of her war-making goods, the hulk of USS Carronade was sold for scrap in September of 1974, bringing about her formal end.
- Amphibious Operations Support
- Blue Water Operations
- Fleet Support
- Specialized / Utility
245 ft (74.68 m)
38.5 ft (11.73 m)
3.4 ft (1.04 m)
15 kts (17 mph)
4,779 nm (5,500 miles; 8,851 km)
1 x 5" /38 caliber Dual-Purpose (DP) deck gun
2 x 40mm Bofors twin-gun Anti-Aircraft turrets
8 x Mark 105 series twin rocket launchers