The Aircraft Carrier Part 4
by Walter Mow
1945~ The desperate Japanese would increase the kamikaze attacks which although they did damage and sink Navy vessels would prove to be inadequate in dealing with the US Navy. As the war edged ever closer to the Japanese homelands, the crescendo of war would increase right up to the August bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
January 3-4 TF 38 begins operations in the Formosa area sinking 17 vessels along the west coast of Formosa. January 5, Sea plane tender Orca (AVP-49), Manila Bay (CVE-61) and Savo Island (CVE-78) are attacked by kamikazes. January 6, TF 38 shifts operations from Formosa to the north shore of Luzon. January 7, Carrier aircraft begin sweeps of Lingayen Gulf. January 8, Kamikazes damage Kitkun Bay (CVE-710 and Kadashan Bay (CVE-76) in defense of Lingayen Gulf installations. January 9, TF 38 attacks airfields and shipping in Formosa, Ryukyus and Pescadores Island areas in order to support landings in Lingayen Gulf. January 12, TF 38 operating in the South China Sea attack Japanese installations in French Indochina; TF 38 aircraft would sink and or damage some 55 Japanese vessels.
January 13, Salamaua (CVE-96) is damaged by kamikaze. January 15, Hoggart Bay (CVE-75) is damaged in an accident as aircraft land aboard. January 16, TF 38 hits shipping and shore installations at Hong Kong, Hainan Island and the Chinese coast sinking and or damaging 15 Japanese vessels. January 17, Nehenta Bay (CVE-74) is damaged in a storm off Philippine Islands. January 21, TF 38 continues to attack installations on Formosa, the Pescadores and the Ryukyus. Japanese counter attacks damage Ticonderoga (CV-14) and Langley (CVL-27); an accident damages the Hancock (CV-19). The force sinks and or damages 22 vessels including 5 tanker vessels. January 22, TF 38 continues to attack installations in the Ryukyu Island chain sinking 8 more vessels.
February 16-17, In the first attacks by carrier forces since the Doolittle raid, TF 58 bomb airfields, aircraft factories and shipping in the Tokyo area; by a ten to one kill ratio, Admiral Mitscher’s pilots would decimate the Japanese defenders. February 21, Kamikazes will sink the Bismarck Sea (CVE-95), damage Saratoga (CV-3), Lunga Point (CVE-94) and Langley (CVL-27). February 25, TF 58 would return to bomb aircraft factories and airfields near Tokyo. February 26, Anzio (CVE-57) sinks I-368. March1, TF 58 attack shipping and installations in the Okinawa area and sink 18 more Japanese vessels.
March 5, TF 58 aircraft sink sub chaser Cha 224 off Pescadores. March 11, Land based Japanese planes attack the US fleet at Ulithi and damage Randolph (CV-15). March 18, TF 58 bomb airfields and shipping on southern Kyushu; attacking a convoy, TF 58 planes sink 4 vessels and damaging another. March 19, TF 58 hits airfields on Kyushu, shipping at Kure and Kobe on Honshu; damaging carriers Ikoma, Katsuragi, Ryujo and Akagi; small carrier Hosho and escort carrier Kaiyo; Off Kyushu the Franklin (CV-13) is severely damaged; Medals of Honor would be awarded for firefighting efforts to Lt. Commander Joseph O’Callaghan and Lt. jg Donald Gary. March 20, Enterprise (CV-6) is damaged by friendly fire off Japan.
March 23, TF 58 begins daily strikes against Japanese installations and shipping in the Okinawa area. March 27, Essex (CV9) is damaged during flight operations off Okinawa. March 29, Elements of TF 58 attack airfields and shipping in the Kagoshima Bay, Kyushu sinking 12 vessels. April 1, British carrier HMS Indefatigable is damaged by a kamikaze.
April 3, Wake Island (CVE-65) is damaged by a kamikaze off Okinawa.
April 6, Kamikaze attacks begin in earnest off Okinawa; San Jacinto (CVL30) is damaged by near misses. April 7, TF 58 attacks a Japanese force formed around the battleship Yamato; TF 58 aircraft (386 strong) attack the Yamato and sink her off Kogashima, Japan. Hancock (CV-19) is damaged by kamikazes off Okinawa. April 9, Chenango (CVE-28) is damaged by a crash on her flight deck Off Okinawa.
April 11, Kamikazes damage Enterprise (CV-6) and Essex (CV-9). April 15-16, Aviation elements of TF 58 strike airfields and aircraft on the ground in southern Kyushu. April 18, Destroyers and aircraft from the Bataan (CVL-29) sink I-56 east of Okinawa. April 20, Corregidor (CVE -58) is damaged in a typhoon east of the Marianas.
May 4, Kamikazes damage Sangamon (CVE-26); HMS Indomitable is struck by a kamikaze but her armored deck deflected the plane overboard. May 9, Kamikazes damage HMS Formidable and HMS Victorious off Okinawa. May 11, Two kamikazes strike Bunker Hill (CV-17). May 13-14, TF 58 begins attacks on Kyushu airfields; Enterprise is damaged by kamikaze off Honshu.
May 16, Aircraft off HMS Emperor damage the heavy cruiser Haguro; her escort vessels will sink her off Penang, Malaya. May 22, Bennington (CV-20) and Hornet (CV-12) sink two sub chasers and a landing ship southwest of Kyushu. May 24 TF 58 attack airfields in southern Kyushu; Suwannee (CVE-27) is damaged when landing aircraft crashes on her flight deck. May 30, Aircraft from Anzio (CVE-57) sinks I-361 south east of Okinawa. June 2-3, TF 38 bombs airfields in southern Kyushu.
June 5, Typhoon off Okinawa damages Hornet (cv-12), Bennington (CV-20), Belleau Wood (CVl-24) San Jacinto (CVL-30), Windham Bay (CVE-92), Salamaua (CVE-96), Bougainville (CVE-100) and Attu (CVE-102) June 7, Randolph (CV-15) is damaged by a P-38, Leyte, Philippines Islands. June 8, TF 38 planes strike Kanoya Airfield on Kyushu. June 14-15, Fleet carrier HMS Implacable and escort carrier HMS Ruler attack Truk. June 20, Carriers Hancock (CV-19), Lexington (CV-16) and Cowpens (CVL-25) attack Wake Island.
June 21, Okinawa is declared secure after 82 days; kamikazes damage sea plane tenders Curtiss (AV-4) and Kenneth Whiting (AV-14). July 10, Elements of TF 38 attack airfields around Tokyo.
July 14-15, Planes from TF 38 hit shipping, rail yards, and other installations in northern Honshu and Hokkaido; TF 38 pilots also accounted for sinking and or damaging 65 vessels on the 14th; accounting for an additional 24 vessels the following day. July 16, British fast carrier task force, TF 37 begins operations with the US Third Fleet. July 17-18, Aircraft from TF 38 and TF 37 attack airfields in the Tokyo area; Wasp (CV-18) attacks installations on Wake Island.
July 19, TF 38 planes damage carriers Amagi and Katsuragi at Kure, Japan. July 24-25, TF 38 begins two day attack on the Inland Sea of Japan, on day 1 sinking 5 vessels, damaging the carrier Ryuho and damaging 15 more vessels; Japanese escort carrier Kaiyo is damaged by planes from HMS Formidable, HMS Indefatigable and HMS Victorious; Vella Gulf (CVE-111) carries out air strikes on Pagan, Marianas; on day two TF 38 sink 7 vessels and damage and additional 6. July 28, Aircraft from TF 38 hit the Inland Sea, sinking 21 vessels while damaging the carriers Katsuragi and Hosho and 19 other vessels; British carrier forces from TF38 sink 2 vessels. July 30, TF 38 hits airfields and industrial targets in central Honshu while sinking 8 vessels and damaging an additional 12 vessels. August 1, Cabot (CVL-28) bombs Wake Island.
August 6, Escort carriers Lunga Point (CVE-94), Makin Island (CVE-93) and Cape Gloucester (CVE-1009) strike shipping in Tinghai Harbor, China. August 9, TF 38 pounds shipping and airfields from northern Honshu and Hokkaido to the coast of Korea; British aircraft from TF 37 sink 2 vessels off Onagawa. August 10, Elements of TF37 and TF 38 continue to attack and sink 9 while damaging an additional two vessels. August 13, TF 38 bombs targets in and around Tokyo. August 15, Air fields in the vicinity of Tokyo are hit before the planes are recalled after Japan signs agreement to cease hostilities. August 25, Carrier aircraft fly patrols over the Japanese mainland these patrols continue through September 2. August 27, The US third Fleet enters Tokyo Bay.
September 2, The Japanese surrender is signed aboard the USS Missouri (BB-63).
The aircraft carrier had come into its own it would come to dominate the War of the Atlantic and would be the point of the sword in the Pacific. Carrier aircraft would give the carrier the ability to see over the horizon and project power far beyond the reach of the guns of the world’s navies.
To all our Troops and Veterans, Thank You!