Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships

Office of the Chief of Naval Operations
Naval History Division • Washington

USS Taylor II (DD-468)

William Rogers Taylor--born in Rhode Island on 7 November 1811--was appointed midshipman on 1 April 1828. The following year, he was posted to the sloop St. Louis of the Pacific Squadron and served in her until 1832. In 1833 and 1834, he attended the Naval School at new York and, in the latter year, was promoted to passed midshipman. The following year, he was assigned to the receiving ship at New York.

Taylor returned to sea in 1836. Assigned to the sloop Peacock cruising with the East India Squadron, Passed Midshipman Taylor was called upon to command a short expedition when his ship ran aground on a reef near the entrance to the Persian Gulf. Assuming command of a cutter, he took a diplomatic agent, Edmund Roberts, to Muscat, on the southern shore of the Gulf of Oman, to exchange ratified treaties. The voyage took five days and included a chase by some Moslem pirates. Midshipman Taylor, however, managed to overcome all obstacles and completed his mission successfully.

On 10 February 1840, Taylor was promoted to lieutenant. In 1842 and 1843, he participated in a survey of Tampa Bay on board the brig Oregon. During the Mexican War, Lt. Taylor served in the sloop St. Mary's and saw action at Tampico Bar on 8 and 15 June 1846. During the siege of Vera Cruz, he commanded an 8-inch gun in the naval battery.

Between the Mexican War and the Civil War, Taylor saw a succession of tours ashore punctuated by a single sea duty assignment. From 1848 to 1850, he served at the Naval Asylum at Philadelphia, His single sea tour came in 1851 and 1852 when he cruised with the Home Squadron in the sloop Albany. From then until the beginning of the Civil War, Taylor did a series of tours of ordnance duty, completing his last one at Washington, D.C., in 1861. While serving in this capacity, he was promoted to commander on 14 September 1855.

On 16 July 1862, Taylor was promoted to captain and, soon thereafter, assumed command of the steam sloop-of-war Housatonic which served with the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron through the remainder of 1862 and into 1863. He was the senior Union officer off Charleston on 31 January 1863 when the Confederate ironclad rams Chicora and Palmetto State made their highly successful raid upon the blockading ships. He served as Dahlgren's Fleet Captain during the operations against Morris Island and Forts Wagner and Sumter between 10 and 19 July 1863. In 1864 and 1865, he commanded the steam sloop Juniata of the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron and was present during both attacks on Fort Fisher.

Taylor's naval career continued for eight years after the Civil War. On 25 July 1866, he was commissioned commodore and, until 1867, served another tour of ordnance duty. From 1869 to 1871, he commanded the Northern Squadron of the Pacific Fleet, receiving his promotion to rear admiral on 19 January 1871. Rear Admiral Taylor's last assignment was as president of the Board of Examiners in 1872 and 1873. Rear Admiral Taylor was placed on the retired list on 7 November 1873. On 14 April 1889, he died at Washington, D.C.

Henry Clay Taylor was born in Washington, D.C., on 4 March 1845. He was appointed midshipman at the Naval Academy on 28 September 1860. When the Civil War expansion of the Navy engendered a pressing need for junior officers in the fleet, midshipman Taylor's class was graduated a year early. He was commissioned ensign on 28 May 1863 and posted to the steam sloop Shenandoah operating with the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron. In 1864, he was transferred to the sloop-of-war Iroquois, in which he visited the Mediterranean and participated in the hunt for the Confederate raider Shenandoah.

After the Civil War, Taylor served in a succession of ships on various stations. in 1866 and 1867, he was in Rhode Island with the North Atlantic Squadron, and he was assigned to Susquehanna from 1867 to 1868. His next tour of duty, in 1868 and 1869, was with the European Squadron in the storeship Guard.

Between 1869 and 1880, Taylor sandwiched two tours at sea in between two periods of shore duty. his first assignment ashore--in 1869, 1870, and 1871--was at the Naval Academy. Following that, he was executive officer of Saranac, the flagship of the Pacific Squadron, from 1872 to 1874. Over the next three years, Lt. Comdr. Taylor commanded the Coast Survey steamer Hassler. In 1877, he came ashore once more, this time assigned to the Hydrographic Office. from there, he went to the Washington Navy Yard where he was serving at the time of his promotion to commander in December 1879.

In 1880, Comdr. Taylor resumed sea duty as the commanding officer of Saratoga. In 1884 and 1885, he was on special duty at New York City. From 1885 to 1887, Comdr. Taylor served as a member of the Board of Inspection and then took a leave of absence in 1888. In 1890, he returned to duty to command Alliance on the Asiatic Station until September 1891 when he took another leave of absence until December 1892. After six months special duty in 1893, Comdr. Taylor became President of the Naval War College.

In April 1894, he was promoted to captain. Capt. Taylor assumed command of Indiana (Battleship No. 1) in December 1894. His ship was assigned to the North Atlantic Squadron, and he commanded he through the Spanish-American War in 1898. In the fall of 1899, Capt. Taylor was detached from Indiana and assigned to shore duty. In March 1900, he became a member of the General Board and, 11 months later on 11 February 1901, he was promoted to rear admiral. On 29 April 1902, he assumed the post of Chief of the Bureau of Navigation, which he held until he death on 26 July 1904.

The first Taylor (DD-94) was named for Rear Admiral Henry Clay Taylor, and the second Taylor (DD-468) commemorates Rear Admiral William Rogers Taylor.

(DD-468: dp. 2,050; l. 376'6"; b. 39'4"; dr. 17.9"; s. 35.5 k.; cpl. 329; a. 5 5", 4 1.1", 6 20mm., 10 21" tt., 6 dcp., 2 dct.; cl. Fletcher)

The second Taylor (DD-468) was laid down on 28 August 1941 at Bath, Maine, by the Bath Iron Works Corp., launched on 7 June 1942, sponsored by Mrs. H. A. Baldridge, and commissioned on 28 August 1942 at the Charlestown Navy Yard near Boston, Mass., Lt. Comdr. Benjamin Katz in command.

Taylor began her naval career with the Atlantic Fleet. Assigned to Destroyer Squadron (DesRon) 20 the destroyer trained at Casco Bay, Maine, and made her shakedown cruise in the northern Atlantic before beginning duty as a coastwise convoy escort. The latter duty lasted until mid-November when she escorted a transatlantic convoy to a point just off Casablanca. The transit was uneventful, save for the interception of a Spanish merchantman, SS Marro. A boarding party from Taylor sent the neutral ship off to Gibraltar to prevent her from transmitting information about the convoy to the enemy. Taylor returned to the United States at Norfolk early in December and remained there until mid-month.

On 17 December, the warship cleared Hampton Roads in company with Task Force (TF) 13 on her way to duty in the Pacific. After transiting the Panama Canal and stopping at Tutuila in the Samoan Islands, the destroyer reported at Noumea, New Caledonia, on 20 January 1943 for duty in the Southwest Pacific. From Noumea, Taylor continued west to Efate in the New Hebrides group, entering Havannah Harbor on the 26th. There, she became a unit of DesRon 21, one of two four-destroyer divisions screening Rear Admiral Giffen's TF 18, comprised of three heavy cruisers, three light cruisers, and two escort carriers.

On 27 January, Taylor cleared Havannah Harbor with the other ships of TF 18, one of several task forces sent out to screen an important reinforcement echelon to Guadalcanal. Admiral Halsey, operating upon intelligence which indicated a major Japanese attempt to reinforce their beleaguered garrison on the island, sent out the large screening force in the hope and expectation of a major naval engagement. That sea battle never materialized because the enemy activities upon which he predicated his actions were actually movements preparatory to a Japanese withdrawal. Instead, the enemy subjected TF 18 to a scathing air attack. On the evening of the 29th, enemy "Betty" bombers attacked TF 18 with torpedoes. The ships brushed off the first attack with antiaircraft fire, suffered negligible damage, and raced on to rendezvous with the other elements of the covering force. After a concerted effort, the Japanese fliers finally scored a crippling torpedo hit on Chicago (CA-29). When Louisville (CA-28) took the stricken cruiser in tow, Taylor helped to screen the retiring ships as they steamed out of range of enemy aircraft. The following day, more enemy planes appeared and attacked. After Chicago took four more torpedo hits, her crew and the warships covering her abandoned the heavy cruiser to her watery fate and returned to Efate.

On 4 February, Taylor and the other ships of DesRon 21 were transferred to TF 67, Rear Admiral Ainsworth's cruiser-destroyer force. Soon thereafter, TF 67 became TF 18, and the former TF 18 became TF 19. In any event, during February and March, Taylor screened Ainsworth's cruisers--St. Louis (CL-49), Honolulu (CL-48), and Helena (CL-50)--during operations between Espiritu Santo and Guadalcanal. During the night of 16 and 16 March, she joined Nicholas (DD-449), Radford (DD-446), and Strong (DD-467) in the fourth bombardment of the Vila-Stanmore plantation located on Kolombangara Island in the central Solomons. On 26 March, the destroyer cleared Espiritu Santo to escort Kanawha (AO-1), Aloe (YN-1), and six coastal transports to Guadalcanal. The ships reached Tulagi on the 29th; and, while Kanawha discharged cargo, Taylor resumed operations at sea with Ainsworth's cruisers.

On the nights of 4, 6, and B April, she joined them in sweeps up the "Slot" before being ordered back to Tulagi on the 7th to pick up Kanawha. When the destroyer was just about to enter Tulagi, a strong Japanese air raid cancelled her mission by severely bombing Kanawha before the old oiler could clear the harbor completely. With Kanawha disabled, Taylor rang up 30 knots and cleared the area via Sealark Channel. During her transit of the channel, the warship claimed the destruction of three enemy planes and hits on two others.

For much of the month, Taylor escorted convoys in the Solomons and between those islands and Espiritu Santo. On 20 April, she rejoined TF 18. After a brief tender overhaul, the destroyer accompanied the cruisers up the "Slot" twice during the 10 days between 4 and 14 May to cover mining operations in Vella Gulf. During the second operation, conducted between the 11th and the 14th, she and the other warships bombarded enemy installations at Vila, Bairoko Harbor, and Enogai Inlet.

Between late May and early July, Taylor performed escort duty. On 26 May, she cleared Espiritu Santo with Munargo (AP-20), escorted the transport to the 180th meridian, and returned to Espiritu Santo on the 30th. During her next assignment--escorting a convoy of troop transports to Guadalcanal and back--she defended her charges against Japanese planes which jumped the task unit on 10 June south of San Cristobal. After repairs at Espiritu Santo, she served with the antisubmarine screen of escort carrier Sangamon (ACV-26) until 6 July when she headed for Tulagi to report for duty with TF 31.

For the next four months, Taylor supported the invasions of the central Solomons. In July, she supported the New Georgia landings. On the 11th and 12th, the destroyer covered the landing of troops and supplies at Rice Anchorage on Kula Gulf as well as the evacuation of wounded. On the morning of the 12th, she attacked and damaged a Japanese RO-type submarine, but could claim no definite sinking. That afternoon, Taylor was temporarily detached from TF 31 and assigned to TF 18. She headed up the "Slot" with Ainsworth's cruisers --the same ones with which she had previously served except that HMNZS Leander replaced Helena after the latter cruiser was lost in the Battle of Kula Gulf--to intercept a Japanese surface force. That evening, the two forces collided. Taylor and the other van destroyers launched torpedoes and then joined the remainder of TF 18 in engaging the enemy with their guns. It may well have been one of Taylor's "fish" that slammed into Jintsu's hull just abaft her number 2 stack and ripped the Japanese cruiser in half. There is no way of knowing for sure, but the accumulated effect of the destroyer's torpedoes and the entire task force's gunfire cost the enemy his flagship and his commander, Rear Admiral Izaki

Following the Battle of Kolombangara, Taylor reported back to TF 31 and resumed support for the amphibious operations in the central Solomons. On the night of 16 and 16 July, the destroyer took Helena survivors off Vella Lavella Island where they had found refuge after their ship went down. Almost a week later, on the night of 23 and 24 July, the destroyer supported the landings at Enogai Inlet and participated in another bombardment of Bairoko Harbor. The following morning, her main battery joined in a bombardment of the Japanese positions around the Munda area of New Georgia.

On 30 July, Taylor cleared Guadalcanal in company with a troop transport convoy bound for New Caledonia. She was detached en route to Noumea and ordered to join TF 37 at Efate. On 11 August, Nicholas, O'Bannon (DD-450), Chevalier (DD-451), and Taylor were ordered to return to Guadalcanal and rejoin TF 31 for the Vella Lavella phase of the central Solomons operation. First, she covered the landings on 15 August. Two days later, the same four destroyers were ordered out of the anchorage at Purvis Bay to intercept a force of troop-laden barges covered by four destroyers. During the ensuing action off Horaniu, a mad melee of torpedoes and gunfire, neither side lost a destroyer, but the Japanese suffered some damage when American shells set Hamakaze ablaze. Later, after the enemy destroyers had made good their escape, the Americans turned their attention to the scattered barges and combat craft, sinking two subchasers, an equal number of torpedo boats, and one barge before retiring. Forty-eight hours later, the four American destroyers returned once again to the area northwest of Vella Lavella to seek out enemy barge traffic. They encountered nothing except enemy aircraft and dodged heavy bombing attacks throughout the evening. Over the next nine days, Taylor and her division mates made eight more trips up the "Slot"--one of which was to cover mining operations off the west coast of Kolombangara--but saw little or no action.

Taylor departed Guadalcanal and the Solomons on 28 August to escort Titania (AKA-13) to Noumea. Then--after a ten-day repair, rest, and relaxation period in Sydney, Australia--the destroyer escorted a troop transport convoy from Noumea to Guadalcanal. She returned to the Tulagi-Purvis Bay area on 30 September and resumed support of the subjugation of Vella Lavella. By this time, the Japanese had already begun to evacuate bypassed Kolombangara and would soon make the decision to do the same at Vella Lavella Thus, Taylor and other destroyers continued their nocturnal forays up the "Slot" to interdict barge traffic.

On the night of 20 October, she Terry (DD-513), and Ralph Talbot (DD-390) engaged enemy barges and a surface force in the waters between Choiseul and Kolombangara. Four nights later came the big action of the Vella Lavella and Kolombangara evacuations, the Battle of Vella Lavella. While south of New Georgia escorting a convoy, Taylor, Ralph Talbot, and LaVallette were ordered to join O'Bannon, Chevalier, and Selfridge, already embroiled in a slugfest with nine Japanese destroyers covering the Vella Lavella evacuation group. During the ensuing battle, the American and Japanese forces traded torpedo salvoes and gunfire, as well as exchanged destroyer Chevalier for destroyer Yugumo. During the battle, Selfridge and O'Bannon also received torpedo hits, but neither was lost. Taylor went alongside Selfridge in the closing moments of the battle and evacuated most of her crew while a skeleton crew began their successful attempt to save the damaged destroyer. She then screened the two cripples while they limped back down the "Slot" to Purvis Bay.

On 17 October, Taylor departed the southern Solomons with the other members of DesDiv 41. She and her consorts escorted a convoy of troop transports to Efate, where they reported for duty with TF 37. Between 23 and 26 October, she made a round-trip voyage between Efate and Noumea, escorting Lassen (AE-3) to Noumea and Aldebaran to Efate. She and her division were reassigned to the Central Pacific Force on 31 October in preparation for the first step in the Navy's central Pacific thrust, the seizure and occupation of the Gilbert Islands. For that operation, she was assigned to the screen of TG 50.1, built around carriers Lexington (CV-16), Yorktown (CV-10), and Cowpens (CV-26). She screened TG 60.1 during the raids on Jaluit and Mili in the Marshalls conducted during the first half of November in preparation for the Gilberts assault. During the actual landings and occupations' she protected her charges from enemy aircraft and submarines while their planes took off to help those of the escort carriers maintain air supremacy over the islands Following the Gilberts operation, she steamed with the carriers during raids on the Marshall Islands. Near the end of those forays, she teamed up with LaVallette and San Francisco (CA-38) to splash two of four enemy "Kate's" which attacked the task group just after noon on 4 December.

Following those raids, Taylor was ordered back to the United States for extensive yard work, arriving in San Francisco on 16 December. Repairs completed, she put to sea on 1 February 1944 and headed--via Pearl Harbor--back to the western Pacific. She reached Kwajalein in the Marshalls on the 18th. Taylor escorted one convoy to Eniwetok Atoll where she joined the screen of carriers Coral Sea (CVB-43) and Corregidor (CVE-68) on 29 February. The task unit cleared Eniwetok on 29 February and headed for Pearl Harbor, where it arrived on 3 March. After 12 days of training operations and repairs, the destroyer departed Pearl Harbor in the screen of Sangamon (CVE-20), Suwanee (CVE-27), Chenango (CVE-28), and Santee (CVE-29), and arrived in Purvis Bay near Guadalcanal on the 27th She remained there until 5 April when she left for Milne Bay, New Guinea, for temporary duty with the 7th Fleet.

The warship reached Milne Bay on the 7th and, the following day, headed on to Cape Sudest, where she became a unit of TF 77 for the amphibious assault at Humboldt Bay. During the assault, she screened aircraft carriers and acted as fighter director until 24 April when she departed to escort a convoy back to Cape Sudest. From there she moved to Morobe Bay where she spent the remainder of the month in availability alongside Dobbin (AD-3). During the first week in May, Taylor escorted a convoy from Cape Cretin to the Hollandia invasion area and acted as fighter director ship once more. She returned to Cape Cretin on 7 May and departed again two days later to screen a convoy of LST's to the Russell Island subgroup in the Solomons. On 13 May, the destroyer reported back to the 3d Fleet in the Solomons, dropped off the convoy, and departed again to screen another convoy to New Caledonia.

On the 24th, she stood out of Noumea in company with DesDiv 41 to return to the Solomons and arrived at her new base of operations, Blanche Harbor, on 27 May. Taylor operated out of that port in the northern Solomons and Bismarcks area until early August. On the night of 28 and 29 May, she patrolled off Medina Plantation on New Ireland while her sister ships bombarded the area to neutralize mobile coastal guns. From 1 to 6 June, she operated with DesDiv 41 conducting antisubmarine operations. During the week from 7 to 14 June, Taylor and the other ships of DesDiv 41 joined TG 30.4 for hunter-killer antisubmarine operations. On the 10th, she depth-charged an enemy submarine, forced it to the surface, and damaged it heavily with 6-inch and 40-millimeter fire. The submarine submerged again, and Taylor made two more depth-charge runs and netted a probable kill. She returned to Blanche Harbor on the 15th and operated in that vicinity until the first week in August.

On 5 August, she changed operational command from the 3d Fleet to the 7th Fleet. She began her duty with that fleet with a practice bombardment of the Aitape area of New Guinea late in August and a practice landing at Moffin Bay conducted on 6 September. Both operations were in preparation for the landings made on the island of Morotai in the Netherlands East Indies on 15 September. For the remainder of the month, she acted as fighter director ship and as a unit of the invasion force's antisubmarine and antiaircraft screen. The destroyer also escorted convoys to the landing area until mid-October.

Between 18 and 24 October, Taylor was a unit of the screen for the second reinforcement echelon for the Leyte invasion. During a Japanese aerial assault on the 24th, the destroyer laid a smoke screen to protect the convoy. That night, as the Battle of Surigao Strait opened, Taylor and the other destroyers of her division were anchored near the entrance of San Pedro Bay. Though she did not actually join the surface engagement, Taylor joined the support force on the following morning. Following that, she patrolled the vicinity of Dinagat Island with a unit known as the "torpedo attack force." On 27 and 28 October, the warship screened TG 77.4, the escort carrier group. During that duty, she rescued a downed fighter pilot of Enterprise (CV-6) and a seaman from Petrof Bay (CVE-80). Frequently, she helped fend off Japanese air attacks.

On 29 October, she joined TG 77.2 and departed the area of Leyte Gulf. After visits to Seeadler Harbor Ulithi Atoll, and Kossol Roads, she returned to Leyte Gulf on 16 November. Between 16 and 29 November, the destroyer continued to screen TG 77.2 and to patrol the eastern entrance to the Surigao Strait. Again, she joined her sister ships in beating off heavy enemy air raids, climaxed by a large attack of suicide planes and dive bombers on the 29th. She claimed one sure kill and two assists during those raids. Taylor then cleared Leyte Gulf for almost a month at Seeadler Harbor before returning to Leyte on 28 December to prepare for the invasion of Luzon.

Taylor departed Leyte Gulf on 4 January 1945 in the screen for the cruisers in the covering force. The next day, the destroyer sighted two torpedoes running toward her formation. After giving the submarine alarm, Taylor launched a depth charge attack on the enemy submarine--a midget. Following those attacks, she rammed the small submarine and sent it on its last dive. During the Allied approach to Lingayen Gulf and in the days following the landings, the Japanese subjected Taylor and her sister ships to a series of heavy air raids. Taylor's antiaircraft gunners assisted in splashing at least two of the attackers. Through the end of January, the warship screened the cruisers and the escort carriers on patrol west of Luzon.

From early February through mid-June 1945, Taylor operated out of Subic Bay in the Philippines. Between 13 and 18 February, she participated in an extensive bombardment of Corregidor and of the Mariveles Bay area of Luzon to support minesweeping operations and to pave the way for an assault by airborne troops. Early in March, she supported the recapture of Zamboanga on Mindanao during which the destroyer's guns helped reduce enemy shore installations. She also covered the minesweepers while they cleared the way for the invasion force. On 15 March, Taylor returned to Corregidor where she bombarded caves on the island's western cliffs. On 26 March, the ship participated in the amphibious assault on Cebu Island, where she joined Boise (CL-47), Phoenix (CL-46), Fletcher (DD-445), Nicholas, Jenkins (DD-447), and Abbot (DD-629) in laying down a heavy pre landing bombardment.

After a short two-day sightseeing visit to Manila Taylor cleared the Philippines with Boise, Phoenix, two Australian warships, and four other American destroyers to support the amphibious landings in northeastern Borneo. En route, she captured five Japanese who were attempting to escape from Tawi Tawi on a raft. On 27 April, Taylor and her sister ships reached the vicinity of the invasion--Tarakan, a small island located just off the eastern coast of Borneo and north of Makassar Strait. She operated in that area until 3 May and delivered a preinvasion bombardment and call fire. On 3 May, two days after the actual landings, she departed Tarakan to resume duty in the Philippines, where for the remainder of the month she conducted training operations.

In mid-June, Taylor rejoined the 3d Fleet at Leyte Gulf and, for the remainder of the war, screened various units of that fleet. During the latter part of the month, she screened aircraft carriers operating south of Okinawa which conducted air strikes on Sakishima Gunto. On 25 June, she returned to Leyte Gulf and remained there until 8 July, when she departed in the screen of TG 30.8, the logistics group for the fast carriers of TF 38. The destroyer operated with TG 30.8 off Honshu until 3 August when she joined the screen of one of the fast carrier task groups, TG 38.4. On 8 August, she resumed duty with the logistics group for five days. On the 13th, Taylor rejoined TG 38.4 just in time to be a part of the last offensive actions directed at Japan.

Following the cessation of hostilities on 15 August, she patrolled off Honshu with the fast carriers. On 23 August, she joined Nicholas and O'Bannon in the screen of Missouri (BB-63) and as such was one of the first American warships to enter Tokyo Bay, arriving on 29 August. The destroyer was present at the surrender ceremony conducted on board Missouri on 2 September and carried Allied war correspondents to and from the ceremony. She operated in the Far East until 10 October when she departed Tokyo Bay to return to the United States. Taylor arrived in San Francisco on 1 November and began preparations for inactivation. On 31 May 1946, the destroyer was decommissioned and placed in reserve at San Diego.

[Taylor was struck from the Navy list on 2 July 1969 and sold to Italy as Lanciere the same day.]

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