Last modified on January 16, 1998
The Japanese had invaded China in September of 1931, and fighting periodically flared up between the two countries. There were many armed factions in China which often fought each other, but which united against the Japanese. They were armed by a variety of sources, as evidenced by the German helmets in this photograph.
While the Augusta was in Tsingtao, large scale fighting broke out between the Japanese and Chinese in many areas of China, and especially around Shanghai. To protect the American citizens in Shanghai, the Augusta was ordered to return there immediately. On the evening of August 14, 1937, as she pulled in to the Whangpoo anchorage, a Chinese aircraft mistook the Augusta for a Japanese ship, and dropped two bombs which exploded within yards of the ship, but did no damage.
Bomb Strike Near Augusta
This close call prompted the crew of the Augusta to paint large American flags on the upper surfaces of the ship's gun turrets.
Flags on Top of Turrets
The Marine detachment of the Augusta went ashore to help the Fourth Regiment protect American citizens. Even when laden with arms and ammunition, the Marines wore their ties.
Another ship which responded to the crisis in Shanghai was the old four-stacker destroyer Edsall, shown here on August 20. The USS Edsall was sunk by Japanese aircraft in the Java Sea in early 1942 while escorting the USS Langley, which was also sunk. The Augusta survived World War II, and was finally broken up for scrap in 1960.
Destroyer USS Edsall