CV-13 USS Franklin Survives Attack 63 Years Ago Today

Discussion in 'WW2 General' started by ToughOmbre, Mar 19, 2008.

  1. ToughOmbre

    ToughOmbre Active Member

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    "The Ship That Wouldn't Die!"

    Before dawn on 19 March 1945 the U.S.S. Franklin, who had maneuvered closer to the Japanese mainland than had any other U.S. carrier during the war, launched a fighter sweep against Honshu and later a strike against shipping in Kobe Harbor. Suddenly, a single enemy plane pierced the cloud cover and made a low level run on the gallant ship to drop two semi-armor piercing bombs. One struck the flight deck centerline, penetrating to the hangar deck, effecting destruction and igniting fires through the second and third decks, and knocking out the combat information center and airplot. The second hit aft, tearing through two decks and fanning fires, which triggered ammunition, bombs and rockets. The Franklin, within 50 miles of the Japanese mainland, lay dead in the water, took a 13° starboard list, lost all radio communications, and broiled under the heat from enveloping fires. Many of the crew were blown overboard, driven off by fire, killed or wounded, but the 106 officers and 604 enlisted who voluntarily remained saved their ship through sheer valor and tenacity. The casualties totaled 724 killed and 265 wounded, and would have far exceeded this number except for the heroic work of many survivors. Among these were Medal of Honor winners, Lieutenant Commander Joseph T. O'Callahan, S. J., USNR, the ship's chaplain, who administered the last rites, organized and directed firefighting and rescue parties, and led men below to wet down magazines that threatened to explode, and Lieutenant (junior grade) Donald Gary who discovered 300 men trapped in a blackened mess compartment, and finding an exit, returned repeatedly to lead groups to safety. The U.S.S. Santa Fe (CL-60) similarly rendered vital assistance in rescuing crewmen from the sea and closing the Franklin to take off the numerous wounded.

    The Franklin was taken in tow by the U.S.S. Pittsburgh until she managed to churn up speed to 14 knots and proceed to Pearl Harbor where a cleanup job permitted her to sail under her own power to Brooklyn, N.Y., arriving on 28 April. Following the end of the war, the Franklin was opened to the public, for Navy Day celebrations, and on 17 February 1947 was placed out of commission at Bayonne, N.J. On 15 May 1959 she was reclassified AVT 8.

    The U.S.S. Franklin received four battle stars for World War II service.

    :salute:

    TO
     

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  2. Lucky13

    Lucky13 Forum Mascot

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    Ship's after 5"/38 twin gun mount burning, as her crew tried to control fires on 19 March 1945. The carrier had been hit by a Japanese air attack while operating off the coast of Japan.
    Photographed from USS Santa Fe (CL-60), which extinguished the fire in this gun mount by playing streams of water through the mount's open door. Later, the other 5"/38 twin gun mount and the 40mm quad machine gun mount (at right) also burned. Note ammunition loaded in the feed racks of the 40mm guns.

    [​IMG]
    Approaches New York City, while en route to the New York Navy Yard for repairs, 26 April 1945.

    [​IMG]
    View on the flight deck, looking forward, while the carrier was in New York Harbor, circa 28 April 1945. She had just returned from the Pacific for repair of battle damage received off Japan on 19 March 1945.
    Note damage to her flight deck, large U.S. ensign flying from her island, and the Manhattan skyline in the background.

    [​IMG]
    Church service on the ship's ruined hangar deck, taken upon her return to the U.S. from the Pacific for repair of battle damage received off Japan on 19 March 1945.

    :salute:
     
  3. wilbur1

    wilbur1 Active Member

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    Great stuff guys :salute:
     
  4. mkloby

    mkloby Active Member

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    Great post - the picture with the skyline in the back really hits home. Thanks TO.
     
  5. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    My "ex" neighbor, the one that was in the navy in WW2....... the brother to his wifes sister was a Hellcat pilot on that ship. He was one of the lucky ones who got off with no injury.
     
  6. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    The strikes that day effectively ended the active career of the Franklin. along with USS Bunker Hill she was repaired, but never returned to active service. She was, effectively, a war loss.
     
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