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The Twelfth Fleet was a unit of the United States Navy and was operational from October 1, 1943. The fleet began demoblization in late 1945 was disestablished in 1946.

Twelfth Fleet was established from the U.S. naval forces under Commander Naval Forces Europe, Admiral Harold Stark when on September 9, 1943 Admiral Ernest King ordered the consolidation of all U.S. naval forces in Europe under a new Twelfth Fleet.[1] The fleet was actually organized earlier under Rear Admiral Alan G. Kirk before all naval forces in Europe were combined.[2] As a command under the United States Naval Forces Europe, the commanders were based from London, England.

Kirk was replaced by Admiral H. Kent Hewitt in August 1945.[3] The fleet had the following commands:

  • Task Force 122 under command of Rear Adm. Alan G. Kirk to control operations and training for the cross-Channel assault.[4]
  • Eleventh Amphibious Force[4]
  • Landing Craft and Bases, Europe, to receive and control the buildup of landing craft for the invasion.

On 15 April, United States Eighth Fleet was disestablished. All U.S. ships and shore bases in the Mediterranean became part of Task Force 125 of the Twelfth Fleet. NAVNAW however was also retained.[5]

With the escalating Turkish Straits crisis as well as the Greek Civil War, Task Group 125.4 led by the carrier Franklin D. Roosevelt departed Norfolk Naval Base, Virginia, for the eastern Mediterranean on 8 August 1946 under the command of Rear Admiral John H. Cassady.[6] The key event of this deployment was a highly-publicized port visit to Piraeus, Greece, on 5 September 1946.[7][8] According to the late American historian James Chace, this deployment by Task Group 125.4 "symbolized" the true beginning of the Cold War by demonstrating U.S. support of the pro-Western governments of Greece and Turkey in the face of external Soviet pressure and internal Communist insurrections.[9]

On 1 November 1946, Mediterranean responsibilities were transferred to United States Naval Forces Mediterranean. On February 12, 1950, Naval Forces Mediterranean became the United States Sixth Fleet.


  1. "Harold Stark". Retrieved 2011-10-01. 
  2. "Numbered Fleets". Retrieved 2011-10-01. 
  3. "The Official Chronology of the U.S. Navy in World War II-Appendix I". Retrieved 2011-10-01. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 "HyperWar: Administrative History of U.S. Naval Forces in Europe, 1940-1946 [Chapter V, Part I]". Retrieved 2011-10-01. 
  5. Task Force 125 was the designation for U.S. naval forces in the Mediterranean Sea as a part of the U.S. Twelfth Fleet. See Bartow. From Hot War to Cold, pp. 170–171.
  6. Polmar et al. Chronology of the Cold War at Sea 1945-1991, p. 7. and "Franklin D. Roosevelt". Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Navy Department, Naval History & Heritage Command. Retrieved 2013-07-25. 
  7. Thomas A., Bryson (1980). Tars, Turks, and Tankers: The Role of the United States Navy in the Middle East, 1800–1979. Metuchen, New Jersey, and London: Scarecrow Press. pp. 92–95. ISBN 978-0-81081-306-9. 
  8. Captain Paul Ryan, USN (November 1974). "An interview with Captain Henri H. Smith-Hutton, regarding his command of the U.S.S. Little Rock". Oral History Program. USS Little Rock Association. Retrieved 2011-08-04. 
  9. Chace, James (2006). "Part 1 – First Skirmishes: The Day the Cold War Started". In Cowley, Robert. The Cold War: A Military History. New York: Random House. p. 11. ISBN 978-0-81296-716-6. 


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